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Does Your Storefront Pass the Good Design Test?

Use this checklist and tips to upgrade the exterior of your pet business.




Bone-shaped door handles at Wet Nose in Geneva, IL, greet customers. Bone-shaped door handles at Wet Nose in Geneva, IL, greet customers.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE value of your storefront when it comes to making a good first impression. Potential customers will form an opinion of your business before they ever put a foot inside, based on how it looks.

Your exterior should reflect your brand, attract attention and motivate people to enter.


Here’s a list of the items to check when looking at your storefront. If you have additional entrances, these apply to all!

  • Landscaping — Is everything well maintained?
  • Finishes — Do they reflect your brand color and style?
  • Signs — Are they in good shape and properly located?
  • Lighting — Are the façade, main sign and window displays illuminated to attract attention from afar?
  • Parking area — Is it clearly marked and free of debris and garbage?
  • Music/aroma — Can you pipe outside to initiate a sensory experience?
  • Decorations — Do they reflect your brand and make a statement?
    Window displays — Are they conversation worthy?
  • Overall image — Is the current “look” what you want to convey?
  • Building maintenance — Does everything look fresh?
  • Entrance door/handle — This is the first point of physical interaction. Is it memorable?

If you answered “no” to any of the above and/or want to otherwise improve your storefront, follow this advice:

Signs, Signs

If you have vehicle traffic going past your storefront, make sure your sign is high. Have a smaller sign at eye level for pedestrian traffic. Always include your hours, website, and social media icons on the front door or window. Do not use adhesive tape to hang signs; instead, choose acrylic sign holders.

Light It Up

The right amount and type of lighting is imperative to attracting attention after the sun sets. If you’re located on a street that stays active after you close, keep the lights that illuminate your façade and window displays on a timer until traffic slows. Consider wall sconces to highlight architectural elements, or add pendant lights in front of your store’s entrance.

Store signage at DOGPerfect in Lakewood Ranch, FL, catches the eye during the day and after dark.

Store signage at DOGPerfect in Lakewood Ranch, FL, catches the eye during the day and after dark.

Very Important Pets

When looking at your parking area, can you identify spots where signage would make VIP guests feel special? If you have a “drop-off/pick-up” zone, highlight the area with fun branded signage, and paint the sidewalk or parking spot a different color.


Decorative accessories can be a defining factor when it comes to showcasing your brand outside. Bring your store’s colors and “personality” into outdoor seating, planters, awnings, flags/banners, artwork and door handles.

Your storefront is a visual billboard for your brand. Since you only get one chance to make a first impression, make it great and make it memorable.




P.L.A.Y. Media Spotlight

At P.L.A.Y. — Pet Lifestyle & You — toy design is definitely a team effort! Watch PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita and P.L.A.Y.’s Director of Sales Lisa Hisamune as they talk about the toy design process, the fine-tuning that makes each toy so special and why every P.L.A.Y. collection is made with independent retailers top of mind.

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