Staff photo by Joshua Curry
Erskine Smith and Rigby, owners of Woof Gang Bakery, & Grooming will have a grand opening in Lumina Commons on Saturday, May 11. The proceeds from the day’s sales will go to the New Hanover County Humane Society, and the first 20 dogs get treats for a year.
Erskine Smith has a background in architecture and residential design, but is switching over to the retail spectrum with the opening of Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming in Lumina Commons.
“It all fell into place,” Smith said about the process of opening one of five (soon-to-be six) North Carolina franchise stores.
He first became interested in the business venture following a visit in October 2012 to the Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming location in the North Hills outdoor shopping area in midtown Raleigh.
In January 2013, Smith filled out the franchise application, and said to his surprise he was accepted.
“I’ve been around animals all of my life,” he said, including Rigby, his Jack Russell terrier, and Buttercup, his longhaired rescue cat.
Smith, a Wilmington resident of 24 years, then headed to Orlando, Fla. to the corporate office and toured all of the surrounding stores. The decision to open the store, which will be located in Suite 108 of Lumina Commons at 1930 Eastwood Road, was made official in February 2013.
After overcoming several small hurdles along the way, he said everything worked out.
“It was meant to be,” Smith said.
The store will feature the signature pinks — Tutti Frutti and Fairy Cake Pink walls — and brown floors like the other franchises.
It will also feature a dining table, chandelier and a large tree unique to the location.
Smith said he would decorate the tree seasonally as a fun addition to the store’s already jovial appearance.
Carey Snyder will be Smith’s right-hand woman. He said he plans to add groomers and other part-time employees as the business expands.
While offering treats and services to customers daily, Smith said he would host a number of different events at the store, such as treat decorating events for children, charity pet adoptions and breed-specific meet and greets.
Signature Woof Gang treats will be offered along with treats baked at the store.
Smith’s impression of the franchise was that it is an upscale pet store that offers products and services not available at other big box stores.
“They’re going to hit 50 stores this year,” he said about the company.
Smith said he would expand products to offerings such as raw and frozen foods, as well as services, to meet clientele demands. The store will also carry toys, accessories and spa products.
Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming currently has 33 operating locations in the United States.
The official opening of the store is Saturday, May 11.
“I think it’s going to be a fun, kind of nifty place to go to,” Smith said.