Care for a Snickerpoodle, a Nutty Squirrel or a Pumpkin Pie Fire Hydrant?
Woof Gang Bakery in Estero cooks up delicious looking dog treats that some pet owners might drool over.
Ben Collazo, 8, said he likes the bakery because his two dogs, a German shepherd and a bull dog, love the treats.
“They keep begging for more,” said Collazo, who lives in Estero. Collazo’s mother, Rachel Collazo, said she likes the unique dog treats, which are made from all natural ingredients right in the store.
The bakery, which opened in the Grande Oaks Shoppes plaza on Dec. 12, uses all-natural ingredients to concoct doggie biscuits, bones and pastries that are healthy enough for a dog’s two-legged friends to eat. For example, the Pumpkin Pie Hydrant’s ingredients include whole wheat flour, pumpkin, molasses, Canola oil, cinnamon and nutmeg.
“We just love dogs, cats and animals in general,” said Pam Borrisove, who co-owns the Woof Gang Bakery Estero franchise with her husband, John. The Borrisove’s were looking to open a franchise, and John said that their love for animals heavily influenced their decision.
“We went to the very first one, met the people involved and within a minute we knew this is what we wanted to do and this is the store we were looking for,” John Borrisove said. “So it was a pretty easy fit for us.”
Pam — who runs the store with the help of her husband and their two daughters, Kayla, 14, and Sydney, 9 — said that a lot of people get confused and come into the bakery asking for human goodies such as donuts and rye bread.
For instance one woman walked into the store asking for something sweet to go with her coffee, found out that the bakery wasn’t geared toward two-legged folks and vowed to return to the bakery with her dog.
“Our funniest questions (we get) are where are the donuts or where’s the bread,” John said. “They think that Woof stands for a German bakery.”
Woof Gang Bakeries such as the one is Estero, fill a niche in the pet product market, which was relatively unscathed last year by the economic recession.
According to a 2009-10 National Pet Owners Survey it was estimated that about $45.4 billion was spent on pets last year, compared to the $43.2 billion and the $41.2 billion spent on pets in 2008 and 2007 respectively. Only $12.2 billion of 2009’s total went toward Veterinarian care.
In addition, more than 80 percent of the 21,000 pet owners that were polled nationwide in Aug. 2009 said that despite the current economic situation, they continue to spend the same amount of money on their pets that they did prior to the economic downturn.
All the fairly priced treats at Woof Gang Bakeries are made from human-grade ingredients with no added salt, sugar or preservatives, and they cost 81 cents per ounce. The icing decorated biscuits are $2.50 and the signature Wolf Gang Bakery bones are $3.50 each.
“We were definitely looking to create that store where we could find everything, kind of a one-stop shop,” said Cara Allen, who co-founded the Woof Gang Bakery franchise with her husband, Paul, in 2007.
There are currently 10 other Woof Gang Bakeries in Florida, including one in the Publix shopping plaza on Radio Road in Naples. “We really wanted something that had everything we needed but at good prices,” Allen said.
The Borrisove’s not only match prices and advertise on Craigslist, but they will also ship their products, make special orders and sometimes do home deliveries.
Platters and tiered dessert trays full of muzzle-licking good treats are displayed on a wooden dining room table underneath an elegant chandelier in Estero’s Woof Gang Bakery.
“Surprisingly there haven’t been any catastrophes yet,” said Pam Borrisove of the openly displayed and easily accessible treats on the dining room table. “The dogs come in and they smell around the table, but no one has really stolen any cookies.”
So far, the Borrisove’s three-year-old chocolate Labrador, Nemo, has been the only one that has snatched treats off the table.
The dog-friendly store also features colorful collars, leashes, harnesses, Doggie Fart Extinguisher canisters, stuffing-free chew toys, and organic foods for both cats and dogs. Canine clothing, such as terry cloth bath robes, Gold’s Gym hooded sweaters, Doggy Life Jackets and Fido Fleeces also line the shelves of the bakery.
“It seems like they care a little more about pets than the bigger stores,” said Cheryl Riley, who brought her miniature Italian Greyhound, Julie, into the store to get her picture taken by a professional pet photographer. Riley also bought a Fido Fleece for Julie because of the recent cold weather.
The Barktini Blends dog shampoos, which come in a variety of scents including Margarita Mutt, Pina Colada Pooch and Cosmopolitan Canine, are some of Kayla Borrisove’s favorites.
Kayla works in the store and has sampled most of the baked goods. “My favorite are the Snickerpoodles,” said Kayla Borrisove, who admitted that she is more of a cat person. Her sister, Sydney, refuses to try the treats because she is a pickier eater than Kayla.
The Borrisove’s, who have a passion for animals and animal welfare, hold community events such as pet adoptions at their store. “We’re into the community and want to do more events like the” pet adoption, Pam Borrisove said.
The Borrisove’s own two other local businesses: Captain Ed’s Charter Boats in Bonita Springs and Captain Ed’s Personalized and Customized Home Watching.
Sarah Donovan is a freelance writer for The Banner. Reach her at email@example.com.