Those of us who live with furry friends are plenty familiar with The Dog Spot, the Gallatin Pike pup daycare/boarding/grooming space launched by East Nashvillian/entrepreneur Chad Baker in 2011. It quickly became a fixture in our highly dog-friendly neighborhood, and that warm welcome is part of what's led Baker to build another animal-aimed business: Spot's Pet Supply & Dog Wash, set to open on November 15, across the street from The Dog Spot.
Among its offerings: a variety of pet foods, toys and treats (for cats, dogs, and your urban chickens), along with apparel and accessories. That variety is meant to extend past just brands and breeds to budgets, too.
"We're going to have high-end as well as lower-end products," Baker says. "We want to meet the needs of everyone in the community. Not everyone can afford to feed the highest-end foods -- we understand that, and don't judge. We just want to be the go-to place for everyone in the neighborhood."
Ahead of Spot's' opening, we asked Baker a few questions about his busy businesses, and the role East Nashville's played in their growth.
The East Nashvillian: What made you decide to start another pet service business in East Nashville?
Chad Baker: "Opening a pet supply store seemed like a natural progression. We mainly wanted the real estate as we were tired of looking at the eyesore across the street from The Dog Spot, but after we bought it, we figured we might as well just open a store."
Do you feel like being in East Nashville has had a specific effect/plays an appreciable role in how The Dog Spot functions?
"Folks in East Nashville are so supportive of local businesses, so it's a great place to do business as long as the folks from the city don't interfere. We live two blocks away from The Dog Spot, so the convenience factor is pretty awesome as well."
You're crowdfunding to create a community dog wash component to Spot's -- what drew you toward doing that?
"The Dog Spot has been very successful, but due to the nature of the business we can't just take in dogs off the streets or anything like that. We donate to a number of causes, but we wanted to do something a little more hands-on and consistent.
"The store has been privately funded, but we decided since the dog wash is essentially a non-profit that we would get the neighborhood involved. We're going to be able to help out a ton of people and rescues with the dog wash, so hopefully we can pull it off. The idea is, on the weekends we will let rescue groups take control of the tubs. All the money paid in for baths will go to them. During the week, the tubs will be pay what you can, even if that's nothing."
How is it, being surrounded by four-legged customers all day? Easier/harder than wrangling people?
"Dealing with dogs is so much easier than dealing with people. We do have some amazing customers, but none are as cute and cuddly as their dogs."
As an East Nashvillian, what additions -- businesses, restaurants, or anything else -- would you most want to see here?
"I love The Wild Cow, The Silly Goose, Margot and Calypso, but I think there's room for another restaurant or two. I'm actually toying with the idea of opening a quick-serve restaurant next to Spot's!"
Keep up with Spot's Pet Supply's progress at the shop's Facebook page. For more on the community dog wash fundraising efforts, visit their community dog wash/fundraising venue page.