~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Running a business anywhere is tough, but operating a successful small company in Woodland Park is even more difficult.
Throughout the years, the town has seen many companies and shops come and go. Therefore, it marks a major accomplishment when one particular business stays in operation for multiple decades.
In 1985, Colorado native Dr. Kevin P. Conrad graduated from veterinary school.
Conrad’s plan always was to work for a few years after graduating from college, then start up his own practice. After he worked for three years in Nebraska, Conrad moved his family of five to Woodland Park in order to purchase a vet clinic in town that was listed for sale.
But once he and his family arrived in Woodland Park, the sale of the operating vet clinic fell through. However, it was too late to change course, and Dr. Conrad and his young family had already fallen in love with Woodland Park and its small town atmosphere. He decided that he would pursue opening up his own clinic in town instead of purchasing one.
During a blizzard on January 1, 1988, Conrad opened up the Woodland Veterinary Clinic. At first, his office was located in a cabin near Safeway on the south side of Highway 24. Then in 1992, Dr. Conrad moved his business to its current location at 550 E. Chester Ave. near Big O Tire.
January 1, 2018 marks Dr. Conrad’s 30th year in business as a sole practitioner veterinarian in town. According to the animal doc, he is not the oldest operating vet in town but he is a close second to Dr. Cooper who has been in business a couple of years longer. According to Conrad, both he and Dr. Cooper are the two “old timer” veterinarians in town.
Conrad runs a full service vet clinic and he has always been the sole practitioner at the office with a staff of three to four others helping him. He runs what he considers as a “mixed animal practice.” “I tell people I can work on every animal except those that have scales and feathers,” Conrad said.
According to the vet owner, his clinic has worked on a large variety of animals through the years. He said that the majority of his patients are cats, dogs and horses. However, Conrad said he has worked on every type of animal from yaks to kangaroos. He said that years ago there used to be more llama and alpaca farms in the area, and that is when he gained his experience with llamas, alpacas, kangaroos, wallabies and other unique animals.
According to Conrad, his key to business longevity hinges on trying hard to listen and educate the owners of the animals. The animal doctor said that he “plays detective” to figure out exactly what is happening with a customer’s pet. After he examines the animal, he advises the pet owners as to what they need to do to ensure their pet’s good health.
Dr. Conrad feels that his 30 of success can be attributed to the large amount of return customers his business has experienced. “I like to consider myself the family’s ‘other doctor,’” he said with a smile on his face. During Conrad’s lengthy stint as a local vet doc and business owner, he has seen not only multiple generations of pets, but also has helped many generations of pet owners.
When asked about retirement, the animal doctor ensured everyone that he had no plans to retire soon. “I love what I do and my hobby is my career,” Conrad said. “I am very thankful for all of my long standing clients and I welcome new ones.”