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American Kennel Club to Open Retail Store, Dog-Care Center in NYC



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Via 57West on Manhattan’s far West Side, where the American Kennel Club will open its first U.S. retail pet store and dog-care center.

Steve Remich for The Wall Street Journal

The American Kennel Club (AKC) will open its first retail store in Manhattan, reported the Wall Street Journal. The store, slated to be a dog-care center that offers day care, boarding, training, grooming and walking services, will encompass 4,000 square feet in a luxury rental tower in a residential block.

“We are experienced people with lifetimes involved with the care and showing and exhibiting of dogs,” said Dennis Sprung, AKC’s chief executive. “We bring that knowledge and experience to the table, and now we are just applying it to brick and mortar.”

The dog-care center design remains to be finalized, but the AKC aims for high safety and comfort standards, including indoor runs for small and large dogs.

The store’s location, Via 57West on West 57th Street, was chosen because the AKC hopes to appeal particularly to area millennials that have busy schedules and high disposable incomes, said Alexandra Aleskovsky, chief growth officer.

Besides the AKC moving into the pet retail business, what also makes this development interesting is that more and more industries are taking note of the ever-growing pets-as-family trend—including the real estate industry.

“What we are starting to see are real-estate companies are not just allowing pets, they are catering to pets,” said Aleskovsky.

Durst Organization, owner of the building, was looking to bring a dog-care operation to Via’s 45,000-square-foot retail area, reported the Wall Street Journal.  

“We do see this as a driver to bring residents to the building,” said Ashlea Aaron, Durst’s vice president of leasing.

According to the American Pet Products Association, of the $60.6 billion pet owners spent on their furry friends in 2015, an estimated $5.24 billion went toward grooming and boarding services. According to Nielsen, sales of pet-care products by retailers other than pet specialty stores reached almost $20 billion in 2015.

The AKC plans to open additional dog-care centers in other metropolitan areas.

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