Michelle Olds

Originally a New Jersey native, I have been in Florida for eighteen years. I grew up in a small town outside of NYC and come from a quintessential New Jersey Italian family. I have always been drawn to the south and at a young age I envisioned my adult life in a warm, sunny climate. Most of my days are spent in the “College Park bubble”. You can often find me walking my dog to Starbucks before getting my kids off to school for the day. My hobbies include travel, RV life, fitness and healthy eating. As a small business owner and resident raising my family in this community, I have a seriously strong passion for College Park!

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
I have two daughters ages 8 and 4 and a 14 year old step son. My oldest daughter, Olivia has a birthday the day after Christmas , which is rough. In 2012, when she was born, I quadrupled the size of my business and had the grand opening 22 days before she was born, that was quite a year! Olivia proudly attends Princeton Elementary. Cora, my 4 year old came into the world at a much calmer time and has a personality to match. Cora loves attending Monarch preschool, so much so that begs us to attend on the weekend and non school days. Connor, my 14 year old step son is an avid sports fan, he loves watching any sporting event and enjoys trivia as well.

Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
I have owned Woof! Orlando since 2008, when I was only 26 years old. In my early 20’s I had three large dogs and traveled home frequently to visit my family. I always struggled to find a place to board my fur babies, which inspired me to open my business. After changing majors in college more times then I like to admit, I decided I was going to learn the business side of owning a pet care business. I attended dog grooming school for one year, then worked for a salon that was servicing our community since the 1970’s. When the owner, my boss decided it was time to retire, I purchased her salon and then, four years later, I expanded our services to offer boarding, doggie daycare and a healthy pet market in our current facility. I dream of another expansion one day and possibly a second location once my kids are a little older. I really enjoy building relationships with all the families who entrust us with their furry family members. I have really enjoyed the customers who have turned in to my friends over the years. The best part of my job is all the puppy kisses I get every day.

Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
I am gluten free, so I’m very particular with where I eat. The fire pit at The Taproom at Dubsdread is my absolute favorite place. Next up is New Moon Market, Rusteak, Infusion Tea and Tornatore’s.

Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
I moved to College park in 2004 and opened my business in 2008.

Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
I have a few, but I would have to say Brad Cowherd who is the “jack of all trades”. I always find his different businesses so interesting.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Italy, to explore my family roots.

Q: What advice would you give to people?
Stay humble, you are never too good for anything. Trust the process, the hard work pays off. Be kind, you never know what someone is going through.

Q: What is something on your bucket list?
I would love to RV across the county, stopping at small towns and exploring the roads less traveled.

Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?

Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
Past business: Annabelle Hart Current business: Ragazzi’s and Ollie’s. Formerly, Alfonso’s and Jax. I spent many late nights there in me pre-kid days.

Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
My grandmother. Covid has made it impossible for me to visit with her, I worry that I may not every get to have lunch with her face to face again. I would take her to the Taproom at Dubsdread and sit on the back patio, where I would order her Mississippi mud pie for desert.

Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
I love the tight knit feel there is despite being so close to downtown Orlando. I also love the people of College Park and the diversity we have here. Raising a family here is so special, everyone knows everyone and the kids truly get to feel and learn what it’s like to be part of a community.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
My brain is always pumping with business ideas, not only for my business but new ideas and plans. Having some other fun businesses are not out of the question, once my kids are a little older and in school full time.

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I am very competitive and driven. I am a CrossFit junkie which is my outlet for the competitiveness that drives me.

Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
Maine, I absolutely love spending summers there. The air, the scenery, the food, water and mountains make it there perfect place (in the summer).

Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? and best single day on the calendar?
Favorite month is July as I spend the whole month in Maine with my family, truly disconnecting from work and enjoying family time. Favorite holiday is Christmas. I love everything about Christmas but mostly, I enjoy giving to others during that time of year. Best single day is Thanksgiving, a day to reflect, eat delicious food and spend quality time with family.

Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My kids

Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
Jasmine and Magnolia flowers

Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Cozy, bright, relaxing