Just because you have cut back on luxuries, doesn’t mean your dog has to. Husband and wife team Don and Chris Vondriska are preparing to open Fido Park Avenue at the Shoppes at Westgate, located across from Short Pump Town Center. The 1,100-square-foot store will carry a number of dog products including bedding, leather travel bags, […]
Just because you have cut back on luxuries, doesn’t mean your dog has to. Husband and wife team Don and Chris Vondriska are preparing to open Fido Park Avenue at the Shoppes at Westgate, located across from Short Pump Town Center.
The 1,100-square-foot store will carry a number of dog products including bedding, leather travel bags, food bowls, spa products, clothing, and toys. For those extra pampered pets there is nail polish, cologne, and even a type of wine for dogs. The products range from low price points to some bigger ticket items.
“Owners of dogs can come in and spend several hundreds on a dog bed or spend 10 bucks on a toy,” said Don Vondriska, “We will carry a lot of different things.”
The pet industry seems to be a growing industry in Richmond. On Monday BizSense reported about a new low-cost vet practice opening in Carytown. Meanwhile across town, a Midlothian couple is starting a web-based boutique catering to mid to large size dogs called Barkers Dog Boutique.
The Vondriskas recently retired from there previous careers in St. Louis—Chris a school teacher and Don an executive at an animal nutrition company—and decided to move to Richmond to be closer to their daughter and her family.
Before moving the couple made a decision to go into business for themselves. The self-financed venture has Don running the books and negotiating contracts, while Chris is hiring employees, selecting merchandise and working on interior design.
While retail spending has declined sharply in the recession and consumer confidence has weakened in advance of the holiday shopping season, Vondriska isn’t worried about business being slow.
“All retail sales have fallen off including high-end luxury stores, but spending on pets has declined less than overall spending. People continue to buy things for their dog,” said Vondriska.
Originally the duo didn’t even plan on opening in time for holiday shopping, but was able to find a location and get through the leasing process quickly enough, Vondriska said.
Currently the couple is stocking up on inventory, which they have mostly ordered through WholesalePets.Com, a Richmond company that distributes products from 200 vendors to about 5,000 pet boutiques across the country.
Owner Bo Nelson said he advised them on their product selection and believes they will do well.
“They seem knowledgeable about the industry and I think they will be a success,” Nelson said.