They always tell you to start a business that involves something you love, and Jim and Adrienne Breen love dogs.
That passion for pups inspired the husband-and-wife team’s new store, Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming, at 7080 N. Durango Drive inside the Montecito Town Center. The shop, which opened June 22, is a new career for Jim, and the culmination of a lifelong dream for Adrienne.
Start with Jim’s career change. The union electrician lost his job when McCarran International Airport’s Terminal 3 wrapped up in mid-2012. With Southern Nevada’s construction sector still in the dumps, he didn’t see much of a future in building.
Cut to Adrienne, a classic, animal-loving softie who spent virtually all of her time rescuing dogs, turtles, pigeons and other critters. Adrienne had always wanted to own a pet-food store and boutique, and with Jim’s work life at a crossroads, it seemed the perfect time to take that leap. Having the backing of a franchisor, Florida-based Woof Gang, gave the couple confidence that their plan could work.
“Their business plan makes for a really inviting store,” Jim said. “We visited many stores in Las Vegas just to see what they were about, and we would walk in, and it was just cold. There are some nice stores out there, but we wanted to be a friendly place for people to want to come in without having to buy a $70 bag of food.”
The Breens say they’ll distinguish Woof Gang from the competition in other ways. They plan to hold regular adoption events — they have five rescue terriers themselves — and they’re scheduling in-store Q&A sessions with local vets, so customers can get advice on basic care. And after hearing stories of pets traumatized by grooming gone wrong, the Breens focused on finding an established groomer with a strong existing client base.
Jim said the toughest part of getting up and running was the store’s build-out, which calls for custom shelves and furniture. And you can’t open a retail store today without researching what kind of pricing power you’ll have, and whether you can match your competition, he said.
But he added that meeting — and helping — other dog lovers has made all of that pre-opening legwork worth it.
“We’ve loved meeting all of our customers. We’ve met a lot of people with rescue animals, and it’s fun sharing stories. Everybody smiles when they talk about their dogs.”
Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4512. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.