By Liz Petoniak
Photograph from the Dog Stop
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In just five years, The Dog Stop owners Jesse Coslov and Chris Kane have grown their business from one location, accommodating 20 dogs, to three locations with 60 employees, accommodating more than 300 dogs. Now, the duo has signed its first franchise in Sewickley and will expand further to bring services, including boarding, daycare, grooming, obedience training, in-home services, dog walking, and a retail store, to more pups and their proud masters. With a franchise spoken for in Monroeville, and another in the Cranberry/Wexford area, Coslov and Kane have their sights set on Ohio. We sat down with the ultimate dog lovers to get the scoop.
The Dog Stop has grown a lot in just a few years. To what do you attribute your success?
JESSE COSLOV: Initially, and still to this day, [it’s about] providing a service where there was a gap in the marketplace. There were always dog kennels, but people’s perception of their dogs has shifted from 20 or 30 years ago. Now, a dog is really a member of a family, and the bar has risen on level of care needed to satisfy people’s wants and needs. We have an open door policy because we want to make sure people are comfortable with what they’re getting. That’s been the keys to our success.
CHRIS KANE: We’ve always wanted to give people the best possible product for the least possible cost and be the most convenient. The one-stop shop for dog services at a cost that’s affordable to the masses really appeals to dog people. We want them to be a part of The Dog Stop family.
Did you always have franchising in mind?
JC: Not at all. As we opened our second location, an individual with a background in franchising approached us. It piqued our interest, and we started to think about it as we discussed our own expansion and its limitations. The key to this is an owner-operated business, so we thought franchising was the perfect way to grow, while still having the owner be part of the community and have a hands-on grasp of the location. Going back to the customer service we demand at our stores, we figured that’s probably the best way to make sure every Dog Stop, wherever it may be, has the same love, care, and attention that we provide in our backyard.
What are your favorite places to take your dogs in Pittsburgh?
JC: My dogs go everywhere with me. I like West Park with the fountain, Ohiopyle, Frick Park, and Hartwood Acres.
CK: My mom’s backyard. My sister has two big dogs, too, and there’s a swimming pool. They don’t have to be on leash, so you just let ‘em go, have a blast, play fetch, chase after the deer. As long as they’re happy, I’m happy.