Made in Eastern Iowa: Crafting a kennel of any size in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Chad Frommelt stands on one of the seams of the Ainley Kennels & Fabrication building on the western edge of Dubuque. He's been with Ainley for 23 years as the building gets larger and larger.

Ainley Kennels & Fabrication, in Dubuque, is growing into a larger space on the city's west side to keep up with demand for custom dog kennels.

"A lot of people expect we have a warehouse full of this stuff and we could go out and grab it," said Frommelt as he acknowledges more square footage to handle the company's growth. "We'll have more room soon but that's not what the room is for."

What the new addition is for is not inventory but room to keep crafting the custom dog kennels that people across the continent have found from Ainley for decades.

"Most of our customers are people that work with working dogs," said Frommelt. "Hunters, trainers, military, police, animal control. Our biggest customer base are private people, such as professional trainers, or people who do this as a hobby."

Ainley has about a dozen employees, according to Frommelt. On the day we stopped in, they were each working on various-sized kennel assemblies, from the single-carrier steel crates to a custom kennel that fit on the back on a truck with the capacity to hold six dogs.

"Some of our customers just have one dog," said Frommelt. "We have customers that have dogs with separation anxiety when they go to work or they can't be left alone in the house, so we have kennels to keep dogs safe and comfortable in the house up to the professional trainers."

Some of the largest dogs and the resulting assignments, Frommelt said, require a kennel that can handle a 150-pound or even a 200-pound dog, such as a mastiff. Yet most of the dogs they craft the aluminum and stainless steel kennels are retrievers.