New Concept for the Dogs (Humans Too)

Discussion
Oct 25, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Any dog that owns a human will tell you that they’re nice to have around. That’s why when they go for a walk or a ride in the car, they usually take at least one of the two-legs in the household along for the fun.


Sometime in November, dogs in the Dallas, Tex. area will have another excuse to take their humans out as a new three-in-one store, City Pet Supply, opens that includes a pet food bar selling holistic nutrition (Whole Pet Café) and unique pet accessories not found everywhere else. The new store also has something for a dog’s best friend – a coffeehouse known as Urban Dog Coffee.


Co-owner, Veterinarian Chip Cannon, thinks dogs will want to take their humans out to let them relax with a cup of coffee after shopping for the latest in canine chic.


The store will legally be able to serve food to both dogs and humans, Mr. Cannon told the Dallas Business Journal, because, “The preparation areas will be fully enclosed in glass and separate from the animals.”


Mr. Cannon also has plans to open Whole Pet, a holistic clinic that will offer treatments including acupuncture, chiropractic and natural medicines for pet. The facility, scheduled to open in December, will also include a second City Pet Supply location. A web site, CityPetSupply.com, will also go live in December.


Tracy Dowdy, a certified veterinary practice manager and owner of Management Resource Group, which provides veterinarians with consulting services to help them improve their businesses, believes Mr. Cannon is on the right track with his new concept.


“The veterinary profession has begun to understand the pet owners want more from their vets,” said Ms. Dowdy. “Cannon is progressive in what he’s offering his community. It takes a certain amount of risk, but there’s a real possibility it will be successful.”


Moderator’s Comment: What do you think of the City Pet Supply concept? What will it take to be successful?
George Anderson – Moderator

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17 Comments on "New Concept for the Dogs (Humans Too)"


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W. Frank Dell II
Guest
15 years 4 months ago

While pet food and accessories is a large and growing category, this concept has limited appeal. I liken it to having coffee and reading at Borders. The consumers may be larger purchasers, but their total number is small. The concept would only work in a major city and be supported by apartment and condo owners living within walking distance.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
15 years 4 months ago

I’m with Karen and Len – limited appeal combined with loyalty can spell success. As a pet parent living in Denver (consistently ranked one of the most pet-friendly cities in the country), I often speak with others who choose cafes and shops based on their pet-friendly policies.

As folks spend more and more time at work, just as with kiddos, they feel guilty about not spending time with their pooches. In Denver (and in Dallas, where I am from), you’ll find dogs in laps, backseats, and cargo areas of at least every other car on the road. Giving people the opportunity to let those guys out for treats and fun times with their families is long overdue.

Ever had dinner with a dog in Paris? Parisians think we’re nuts for all of our rules around separate areas for dogs.

Jim Dickson
Guest
Jim Dickson
15 years 4 months ago

This is a great concept. As our pets move from the back yard to the bedroom and further become surrogate children, we will desire more opportunities to ‘show them off,’ just like soccer parents. This works not only for pet specialty retail but also veterinary clinics. What is next – “bark rooms”?

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 4 months ago

The concept is right on. Human being’s best friend can
receive all it needs in an animal friendly outlet.
PetSmart has a number of stores very close to this concept.

I’m not sure if grooming is included, but it is needed.
As families treat their dogs like a member, human…that
is, anything can be sold. Honda is test marketing a cabin
area for the dog to rest, or sit in. A few hotels have dog
sitting services.

Oh, for the human being coffee shop, it would have to have
a dog friendly seat, next to me. I wouldn’t want to just
put him in a pen or corner. What next? Hmmmmmmm

Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
Guest
Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
15 years 4 months ago

With hotels allowing more and more dogs, and department stores as well, it only makes sense for this type of retail situation to accommodate those of us whose “kids” are on four legs instead of two. I have seen a number of people asked to leave Starbucks because they wanted to bring their dogs inside. I’m sure there will be an audience for this and that it will grow to many markets. My biggest fear is the possibility for having to ask someone to clean up after my dog if the excitement gets the best of him. Other than that, it should be fun and fun could mean attracting a loyal, if limited, clientele.

Sidney Ray
Guest
Sidney Ray
15 years 4 months ago
As a Luxury Pet Boutique Consultant, I know for a fact that this concept works as similar concepts have already launched in larger cities such as NYC and Los Angeles. I am currently working with a client in NJ who is launching a luxury pet boutique/spa/coffee-house. I have clients located all around the world and I tell them, to survive in a niche industry, they need to combine a service along with marketing and selling luxury dog products. It is a smart thing to do these days as consumers are very fickle. We have to keep in mind that these boutiques are selling luxury dog products. Dogs don’t care what they wear; but some owners do. Obviously, small dog owners have more choices in dressing their beloved furry one’s; whereas large dog owners….well, it would look silly for a Great Dane to go prancing about in a designer dog coat. Take a picture if you see one and be sure to email it to me. I predict that within 5 years, there will be a… Read more »
Doug Fleener
Guest
15 years 4 months ago

Interestingly enough, I presented at a pet supply tradeshow in Seattle last week where I suggested that they do this sort of thing. The humanization of pets along with the willingness of pet parents (per Len Lewis) to invest in premium products and services is creating a lot of opportunities for pet retailers. The challenge though is that PetSmart and Petco continue to offer many of these same premium products and services that the independents offer. Because of this, the independents must create a differentiated experience for their customers like City Pet Supply has. I like to think you can compete on price or experience . . . . and one of those is unlikely to be profitable for independent retailers.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 4 months ago

At the risk of bringing the collective wrath of RW contributors down on my head – yet again on this subject – I think it’s a great idea for a totally different reason. Giving the dogs and their human companions a place to go, together, may just keep them out of the places patronised by humans who don’t like having four legged creatures around them. Just as there are many people who prefer adult-only establishments, uninhabited by other people’s children, there are many of us who prefer to spend our leisure time eating and drinking with adult humans only and not being pestered by pets who do things we consider should be seen in privacy only by those who love them and not inflicted involuntarily on the rest of us.

Dustin Stinett
Guest
Dustin Stinett
15 years 4 months ago

A Doggie-Dietrich’s is fine by me, and it might even do well. What worries me, however, is the idea of a “holistic pet clinic.” (I noticed that none of the comments thus far have touched on that aspect of this article.) There is zero legitimate scientific support for acupuncture or any of the other so-called “holistic” approaches to healthcare for humans, so why stand by and allow the foisting of such nonsense on these defenseless pets? I wonder: Given the importance of “meditation” in “holistic treatments,” how does one go about getting their dog to meditate? How will the practitioner communicate its mantra to the dog? (Never mind; there will probably be a handy onsite “pet psychic” for that little detail.)

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 4 months ago

I don’t understand why Petco or another similar organization hasn’t tried this within their own stores.

Connie Kski
Guest
Connie Kski
15 years 4 months ago

I KNOW this works.

In my situation, it’s a bit different, but most of my customers go to Starbucks or Baskin Robbins (both next door to my pet shop) and also shop at Animal Fair in the same trip, usually buying a treat for their pet at the same time as well as supplies. They often stop to enjoy their treats together on the benches outside.

I have one customer who comes in faithfully every day. He first stops at the door of Baskin Robbins and they make a “Buck Sundae,” while he comes to my shop and buys a Liver Bear for Daisy his Labrador retriever, and then BR will have his sundae ready.

Karen Ribler
Guest
Karen Ribler
15 years 4 months ago

In a niche market, I see City Pet Supply flourishing. Creating a Starbucks knock-off in a pet indulgent environment has great retailing potential…although, he may wish to add obedience training classes to his store’s services.

This concept will live or die on location. If the demographics are there…the store will be a moneymaker and a good gathering place.

David Livingston
Guest
15 years 4 months ago

Taking your dog to the corner coffee shop has been around for as long as their have been coffee shops. However serving dogs at the same time sounds new to me. It will probably work. We just have way to much money and time on our hands, don’t we?

Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
15 years 4 months ago

Speaking as a pet parent (never an owner), I think it’s a great idea.

From an observer’s perspective, it’s still a great idea. It may indeed have limited appeal. But, then again, so do most new retail concepts. It’s what everyone said about dollar stores and membership warehouses, as I recall. This is another take on niche marketing and well worth the time and effort.

James Jacobson
Guest
James Jacobson
15 years 4 months ago

To address the question about how to get a dog to meditate, may I suggest my just-released book entitled (appropriately enough), “How to Meditate with Your Dog.” It was just released this month and is already an Amazon bestseller. You can learn more at the site http://dogmeditation.com or by contacting me directly.

All the best.

James Jacobson

author

“How to Meditate with Your Dog: An Introduction to Meditation for Dog Lovers”

Lilliane LeBel
Guest
Lilliane LeBel
15 years 3 months ago

We always bring our Lab with us. We live in the country near a small town, and we bring our dog to the local pub, the video shop, banks, hardware store, etc., and even classical music orchestra rehearsals. It’s great too, to see how the sight of a dog brightens up everyone’s faces. We’ve never been asked to take her out either.

The important point is that the owner has to be responsible for the dog no matter what situation they’re in. Many times we’ve received comments that our dog is much better behaved than many children in the same situation.

The more dogs are allowed to mingle with people, the better it will be for everyone.

Victoria Gann
Guest
Victoria Gann
14 years 11 months ago

As an example, check out the Castro district in San Francisco. The area is heavily populated with “pet parents’ who take their dogs with them everywhere. Many shops in the area, supply dogs treats and dog water dishes as common practice to customers.

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