Looking for pet food, gourmet treats, clothing and accessories, and even grooming? Woof Gang Bakery is the ultimate boutique for pet owners and their furry friends. Equipped with everything they need for a one-stop pet shop, it’s no wonder that this retailer received the Multiservice Excellence Award from Pet Business Media, along with many other awards.
Woof Gang Bakery (woofgangbakery.com) is the leading specialty retailer of pet food, pet supplies, and professional pet grooming in North America, with more than 130 store locations open or under development in the United States. Each store is locally owned by independent operators, with their corporate office located in Orlando, Florida.
The Start of a Woof-tastic Adventure
Having always been dog owners and advocates for animal rescue, Cara Allen and her husband were looking for a one-stop-shop pet store to fulfill all of their pets needs. After coming up dry, they developed their own one-stop-shop for pet owners in 2007, thus began the Woof Gang Bakery.
“Shortly after we started the company, we introduced grooming as an additional service,” Cara said. “Our original model was retail only, but we soon found out that our customers wanted us to be a one-stop-shop and to offer grooming, so we retrofitted our existing stores to offer it.”
Always One Paw Ahead
Cara quickly found that with a brick-and-mortar storefront, the ability to offer a service that was desired by customers set Woof Gang Bakery apart and to this day, gives the company an advantage over online retail and bigger pet stores. “Having the grooming, which accounts for half of all revenue each year, certainly supports the retail business and provides that true one-stop-shop for consumers,” Cara said.
For any brick-and-mortar retailer to survive in this ecommerce-forward world, it’s important to find a niche that sets your store apart from the crowd, and that’s exactly what Cara did with her company. Not only does Woof Gang Bakery have that award-winning customer service that comes with locally owned and operated storefronts, now they have a special grooming service that most other pet stores do not..
A Home Away From Home
“As a part of our business model, each of our stores has a dining room table as a centerpiece with a chandelier to create a warm and welcoming environment in our stores,” Cara said. “On the table, we sell bulk treats and decorated treats, so at any one of the tables, customers can see bowls filled with treats. We keep them well-stocked and overflowing with products so it’s a fun way to shop with an upscale kind of feel. Customers can also create their own product mix right on the table.”
This type of service and homey feel definitely sets Woof Gang Bakery apart from the competition. Since each store is run by locally-based owners, they know their market and their neighbors personally. Shop owners can host special events in-store that they know will interest their customers, create special orders for customers, and create their own retail family.
Cara says the best advice she can give to retailers just starting out is to listen to your customers and let them tell you what they want and need. “Be flexible based on the overall needs of your customer base. For us, it was grooming. We started out just as a retail store in the beginning, and as we grew and began franchising, customers would always come in and ask about grooming, and so we were really being adaptive to our customers.”
Woof Gang Bakery also opened their very first storefront in Dothan, Alabama. The grand opening celebration will take place from February 29 through March 14. Throughout the event, customers can enter to win “pawsome” raffle prizes including free pet food for a year, free dog treats for a year, stylish collar and leash sets, a gift basket filled with dog toys and more pet pampering products. Customers will also receive a spa upgrade on all pet grooming appointments booked during the grand opening period.