Volume 23, Number 8 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 2 - 8, 2010
Haute pampering for pups
BY Joseph Rearick
It’s not hard to tell when dogs are happy; they swish their tales energetically between their legs, yelp for joy, and pull eagerly against the leash towards the object of their affection. So perhaps the best recommendation Abraham Mimi receives is from his four-legged clients when he or his employees meet them on the street. “Most of the dog owners say ‘I saw one of you guys and the dog went crazy in the street’,” Mimi said. “Daycare — it builds a relationship.”
Mimi, owner of Pup Culture on Broome Street, a doggie daycare, grooming and boarding facility, has been building relationships with Downtown dogs for nearly a decade.
“In the ‘90s I had a pet shop on Thompson Street,” said Mimi. “I saw there was a need for this kind of daycare. People would come in and tell me it’s a good idea to open grooming and daycare.”
So, in 2002, he started up Pup Culture, thinking it would be “a side gig” to supplement his other business. Little did he know it would soon swell to demand the entirety of his business attention.
“This really took off,” he said, shaking his head as if still surprised at his store’s growth.
Pup Culture’s attractiveness stems partially from the variety of convenient services it offers, especially those not offered by typical doggie daycares. Canine visitors are treated to “rubber flooring designed to ease impact on joints and muscles” within play pens assigned on the basis of “size and temperament.” Grooming services go even further, including “hypoallergenic oatmeal treatments for dogs with skin allergies and sensitivity” and a process designed to “express their glands.” Clearly, Mimi and his staff treat their clients’ pets with the utmost care.
“For daycare, we take dogs out three to four times a day,” Mimi said. “In pairs, not in packs.”
Those who do the walking are carefully selected, as well, Mimi promised.
“You have to be very careful about who you hire, where you walk the dogs,” he said. “Most employees have been here for six or seven years.”
Thus, clients can trust their dogs are in good hands literally 24/7, as a staff member is always on watch to help doggie boarders, whom are allowed to sleep in play pens rather than cages.
This kind of service is not without its challenges (Mimi must maintain his business over the holidays when demand is greatest), but it yields customer loyalty. In fact, “most of the dogs know each other,” he said, a dynamic that creates something of a canine family among the daycare participants. Pup Culture is now a part of their routine, and the opportunity to play with other dogs each day keeps tails wagging.
“I’ve been doing this for nine years,” says Mimi. “You learn a routine.”
At the front of the store, a selection of toys and pet paraphernalia greets visitors, a remnant of Mimi’s career before he entered the boarding business. Hundreds of plush creatures are available to potential buyers, but Mimi says the most popular item he sells is not a plaything.
“Toothbrushes, people buy so many toothbrushes,” he said, laughing. “I ran out.” Fortunately for his business, doggie pampering continues to persist in Lower Manhattan, despite the recession. “Oh my God,” he said of the treatment he sees dogs receiving from their owners. “It’s just unbelievable the things that you see sometimes.” Things like a massage that “aligns breath and increases muscle relaxation” in dogs? You guessed it; Pup Culture offers just that.