Benchmarks

Sharkira, Cat TV and 4 More Works of Art That Set Indie Pet Stores Apart

DO YOU HAVE windows that won’t work for displays? Or a plain wall — inside or out — that you don’t know what to do with? Consider hiring an artist who works in paint or vinyl. That’s what these six pet stores did, and the results please pet parents and art lovers alike.

Paddywack
MILL CREEK, WA

This doghouse scene by Tina LoFranco adorns a wall in the store’s dog food area. Pups can pose in front for pics.

COST: $300 | TIPS: If you do opt for an interior mural, Shane Somerville says, “Try not to bash it with your rolling cart.” And, “Know your artist’s style to ensure it’s compatible with your shop aesthetics, be clear about what you want, don’t be afraid to ask for it and have fun!”

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Dog Krazy
FREDERICKSBURG, VA

To add curb appeal and celebrate their family dogs, Nancy and Chris Guinn hired Brian McGuire of Illusion Wraps to create the series of vinyl decals that decorate their 136-foot storefront. Piglet and Nova, the late heart dogs of Nancy and Chris, respectively, join current pets Pork Wonton, Sushi, Stirfry Fatguy and Tala. A dog house frames the entry, while a retro TV set lines up perfectly with a kitty perch inside the cat boarding room.

COST: $3,000 | TIP: Nancy says, “Make sure you love it!”

Adventure Pets
MANDEVILLE, LA

A vinyl graphic by James Wicks of DWC Signs and Graphics borders its entire back wall and features the many pets this store serves. The one-third shown here features a bearded dragon, chameleon and sulcata tortoise, with a fiberglass sculpture of a leopard gecko joining in on the fun.

COST: $1,950 | TIPS: Rachael Creech says, “Be patient and find the graphics you like. I was picky because I knew I would have to look at it every day.”

The Public Pet
HONOLULU, HI

This bold, beautiful streetside mural by Matthew Tapia represents the store and its surroundings. Lola and Phiefer, the dogs who inspired Jordan Lee and Matthew Guevara to open The Public Pet, make a cameo inside the yellow circle, and Lee says the mural “acts as a design element for the Kaimuki neighborhood.”

COST: $2,500 | TIPS: Consider updating an exterior mural on a regular basis. Lee says, “We’ve rotated it twice since opening [in 2016] and look forward to more designs going forward.” Tapia offers this advice: “Always try to set up that ‘Instagram Moment’ for your customers, and have the artist’s handle or hashtag visible for people to use.” Tagging the artist allows you to reach art lovers who also have pets!

Muttigans
EMERALD ISLE, NC

This store inherited an interior mural from the previous tenant, a yoga studio. The artwork covers two walls and depicts an underwater seascape. Wendy Megyese says, “We don’t sell any aquatics, but we are on the coast and decided to leave it. The mural gives the space such character and keeps a piece of the building history.”

COST: Free | TIPS: Invite your customers to join in on the creativity. Megyese says, “The shark is the highlight of the mural, so we created a poll on our Facebook page to name it. The result? Sharkira.”

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All Pets Considered
GREENSBORO, NC

A dog park scene by local caricaturist Erik Huffine wraps the front windows of each of this store’s two locations. It spans 100 feet and features logos from Zignature, Lotus, Bark Worthies, Primal and other brands. “We covertly designed areas that could be branded,” Alison Schwartz says. “Manufacturers helped us tremendously with the cost of the windows. Placement cost was measured by proximity to the doors — the closer to the customer entrance, the more expensive the placement cost and the higher the value to the manufacturer.”

COST: $5,000 | TIPS: Research local restrictions on window graphics. Schwartz says, “We found out ours was technically against a building code. Thankfully, we were grandfathered in. Also, plan for replacement every five years because the vinyl does weather.”

Birds Unlimited
WEBSTER, NY

In-store works of art need not be permanently placed. Paul Lewis put this carnival cutout in storage because of the pandemic, but plans to bring it back outside once safe. He sketched the design, then employee Corrine Playfair brought it to life in latex paint.

COST: $175 for paint and labor | TIP: If you make one, Lewis says, “Don’t put the holes too low as it makes it difficult for people to stick their face in ’em.”

Pamela Mitchell

Pamela Mitchell is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Phoenix, AZ, with Ty the Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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