Art catches the eye and evokes a feeling. Large-scale installations such as murals can also attract new customers to a business.

Exterior artwork at Michelson Found Animals Adopt & Shop in Culver City, CA, does exactly that.

“The murals really grab people’s attention, and they become curious as to who we are and what we do,” says Sarah Rueli, marketing associate with the nonprofit adoption center and store.

Interior artwork at Urban Pooch Training & Fitness Center in Chicago, IL, has the same effect, thanks to social media posts.

“We take training graduation photos and use the mural as the background,” says co-owner Ed Kaczmarek, who adds that special occasions are not required to pose with pups and share. “Our clients love the mural and are always taking photos in front of it.”

Is a mural the next step in your store’s visual evolution? If so, look to and learn from these outstanding installations.


Dog Krazy  RICHMOND, VA

Piglet the Bulldog inspired Nancy Guinn to open Dog Krazy, so it seemed only fitting that she be the star of the store’s fourth location. Chris Guinn surprised his wife with the mural.

“Nancy has had a tough time being at the stores since Piglet passed two years ago,” he says. “I wanted to have this done in her honor.”

To ensure the treasured work of art would never be left behind if the store moved, artist Debbie LaFrance painted it on a removable pallet.


 

Bark on ParkJACKSONVILLE, FL

Owner Jamee Yocum hired artist collective MILAGROS to transform the dull concrete walls of Bark on Park’s daycare yard.

“I wanted to give my staff, dogs and visitors something to look at,” she explains. “The mural brings such positivity to an area where we spend hours a day. And my social media posts always have an awesome background.”

The result: colorful dogs and text that pops. Yocum spent $2,500, but offers as an alternative finding a local dog-owning muralist open to trade.


Michelson Found Animals Adopt & Shop CULVER CITY, CA

Oversized shelter pets pose along the exterior of the adoption center and store. Painted by artist David Flores from photos by Maria Ruvalcaba, the murals were part of the original architectural plans and cost $10,000. In addition to serving as billboards, marketing associate Sarah Rueli says, “The murals brighten up the building and are welcoming.”


Fins and SkinsPINELLAS PARK, FL

Owner Joe Declet grew tired of telling new customers to look for the ugly orange building. When his lease came up for renewal, he negotiated the right to add a mural.

“Invasive Species” by local artist Derek Donnelly now spans the side of Fins and Skins, measuring 30 feet tall by 50 feet long. It’s colorful creatures beckon to passersby and represent the pets available inside. The mural has also greatly increased foot traffic, with a serious surge when it became a Pokéstop in 2016.

Declet purchased paint, rented equipment and paid Donnelly for the project. Total cost: $6,500. Pinellas Park reimbursed him $1,500.

“A lot of cities are willing to bring murals to an area,” he says, advising, “Look for beautification programs that provide funding.”


Urban Pooch Training & Fitness Center CHICAGO, IL

Urban Pooch has a go-to artist for murals and signs: Anne Leuck. Co-owner Ed Kaczmarek recommends that every pet business find such a partner.

He describes, “A local artist who gets your vibe — and can work with you to create artwork that not only adds to your decor and brightens your space, but that also reinforces your brand and all the things that make your business unique and fun.”

Leuck digitally created two murals in her vibrant, graphic style, which Signarama then printed on 3M vinyl and installed.

“It makes it so much easier to work through the creative process, versus having the artist paint,” Kaczmarek says, adding that “the colors pop more if digitally printed.”

The custom mural of dogs at play measures 10 feet tall by 14 feet long and cost $4,500. A smaller mural based on existing artwork cost $800. Printing and installation were $1,200.


My Buddy & Me Natural Pet Store CENTENNIAL, CO

A likeness of Buddy the Mastiff adorns this store's wall. Owner Aimee Thompson says it starts conversations, gives "us a chance to not only talk about pet food, but something else to break the ice."

Artist Bas Hollander created the airbrushed portrait of Buddy, the inspiration for the store along with another of Thompson's pets, Stymie. The store actually operates as a non-profit to fund the Stymie Canine Cancer Foundation. 

Thompson traded pet products for Hollander's artistic services, and she recommends such a deal if it benefits everyone involved. Work by local artists regulary hangs in the store.


This article originally appeared in the April 2018 edition of PETS+.