“We might get 10 or 12 applica-
tions for the same space. It’s im-
portant to take our time to find
the best possible match.”
After the accepted applicant is
flown to Orlando for a “discovery
day,” the search for the perfect
space begins. Paul visits the tar-
geted market area to ascertain the
proximity of big-box pet retailers.
“We want to be close to those
national brands, to use their dollars to build our brand,” Paul said.
“If a big box is doing $2 million a
year and we can find a way of getting 20 percent of that business, we
have a really nice base for a store.”
The main distinction between
a Woof Gang Bakery and a big-box pet retailer is that personal
touch of a small, neighborhood
pet store, Paul said.
“Long gone are the days when
people would drive out to the big-
box retailers to take their dogs to
be groomed when we can put
ourselves in a plaza just two min-
utes from their homes and give
them the exact same price for
food and grooming,” Paul said.
A construction division and a
5,000-square-foot warehouse in
the Orlando area allows the inte-
rior structures to be built off-site,
flat packed and shipped out to a
“We are able to build a store
in about 10 days,” Paul said.
Franchisees receive ongoing
and extensive support.
“We train them, and the office
supports them with everything
from our register system to social
media,” Paul said. “We have an
operations department, a vendor
relations department ... each per-
son in the corporate office is here
to support the franchise owner.”
Inventory support includes
a wide range of approved ven-
dors. Franchisees use individual
accounts and order their own
product; however, because of cor-
porate master accounts, national
“We make it as easy as we
can,” Paul said. “Franchisees have
the freedom to still be a mom-and-pop store, but under the banner of Woof Gang Bakery.”
COMMUNITY IN COMMON
“We have homed pets in the thou-
sands,” Paul said. “We also do a
national adoption day, where
we’ll get matching T-shirts for
everyone, but our best results are
seen from the adoption days held
on a weekly or monthly basis at
Woof Gang Bakery also has
donated treats to the Humane
Society in Savannah for fundrais-
ing purposes. In 2015, it donated
43,000 pounds of pet food and
$54,000 to rescues and shelters.
“We will definitely be up from
those numbers for 2016,” he said.
“The bigger we get, the more we
can give to our communities.”
What is Woof Gang Bakery best
Paul Allen: Service, without
question. We are 100 percent about
service. Our clients know the owner
by name, and the owner knows
their names and the names of their
pets. Everything about a Woof Gang
Bakery says “community store.”
Greatest challenge for pet
PA: Understanding the importance
of service and community involvement—a retailer can’t expect to
just open and sell food. There’s not
enough profit in food. Unless that
retailer is willing to become part of
the community, they are not going
Greatest challenge to the pet
PA: Controlling the online sellers;
their pricing is going to hurt everyone in the pet industry. Even if the
online retailers charged properly,
they would still have business.
There is room for everybody to
grow within this sector as long as
we are all on the same page.
Interesting industry trends?
PA: The trend we are jumping on
right now is pet-related housewares. It’s an untouched market.
Goals looking forward?
PA: We are going to open our 100th
store in August 2017. Then our
goal is to open five to six stores
per month. The way to do that is
to build off-site and to have the
necessary infrastructure in place.
A successful pet business starts with a simple idea. If
you can dream it, you can achieve it. From grooming and
retail to boarding and daycare, pet service pros rely on
imaginative thinking and ambitious doing to make a
difference for their clients. Whether your mission is
discovering innovative new products, sharpening your
skills or placing frst in one of North America’s largest
grooming competitions—you’ll fnd endless opportunities
to bring your vision to life.
Imagine the Possibilities
March 9-12, 2017
Georgia International Convention Center