Mike Cardone loves dogs. So much so that he started his own dog walking service in 2016, The Dog Enthusiast. It took off almost immediately as photos of his clients’ best friends landed on the company’s social media feeds. Recently, Mike made a big announcement – he was opening up a pet salon “in a few months”.
Upon hearing the great news, I reached out to Mike with some questions.
When did you start up your dog walking business and was opening a physical shop always in the pipeline?
I started The Dog Enthusiast on February 22nd of 2016. I have professionally worked with dogs since 2009 and after being unhappy with a pet salon that I used to work for, I posted a hypothetical status on Facebook asking who would be interested if I launched a dog walking company. I gained so much positive feedback that I put my 2 weeks in at work and began building a dog walking schedule for myself.
I did have the intention on opening my own shop from the beginning, but had no clue it would happen so quickly.
How did you find the location of where your shop will be?
I have been a resident of Point Breeze for 10 years (off and on) and definitely made serving this community my primary focus, and I really wanted to have a shop that was convenient to the pet owners of Point Breeze.
I honestly am very lucky with the current pet salon opportunity. Two of my earliest clients and now friends, James Gitto and Katherine Wade, obtained a giant facility at 19th and Passyunk, to launch Philly’s first indoor dog park, Bark Park, and they are leasing out part of the building to me to run The Dog Enthusiast Pet Salon.
What can customers expect when they walk through the door?
I think customers will be blown away when they walk into the building, because the first thing they will see is the dog park environment, directly ahead with cafe tables set around the park, free wi-fi and a self-serve keurig.
To the right, as you walk in, will be my grooming facility and you can also see us grooming through our front window! I think our image will be appealing to Philadelphia residents, because too many pet salons use outdated designs with poodles, pink paw prints etc… and I am aiming for a more rugged/rustic but modern aesthetic. Eventually, I would even love for it to look like a normal barbershop/salon.
With the creativity, experience and professionalism of our head pet stylist, Eileen, I really believe that clients will be thrilled with our services!
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