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Local dog bakery welcomes addition of coffee shop

by Kari Ashworth - News Editor
Tue, Nov 5th 2019 08:00 pm
Woofies Gourmet Dog Bakery opened its dog-friendly coffee shop on National Coffee Day, Sept. 29. Customers can grab a cup of coffee while waiting for lines to die down or simply come to socialize with other dog lovers.
Woofies Gourmet Dog Bakery opened its dog-friendly coffee shop on National Coffee Day, Sept. 29. Customers can grab a cup of coffee while waiting for lines to die down or simply come to socialize with other dog lovers.
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Woofies Gourmet Dog Bakery offers a place for dogs and their owners to relax and socialize with the addition of its coffee shop, aptly named Coffee and Canines. 

Located at 5087 West Ridge Road, Woofies was opened in 2010 by Cindy Ackerman and her husband Rich. Ackerman’s educational background is canine nutrition, so she utilized her skills to create homemade dog food and treats. Additionally, the shop offers attire and toys for dogs, as well as dog-themed mugs, bumper stickers and a plethora of other items. 

It took awhile for Woofies to build up its customer base, Ackerman said.

“We’re not in the best — even though we’re on Ridge Road — we’re not in the best location as the people go by so fast here they don’t even know what it is,” Ackerman said. “So most of our customers are word of mouth. We advertised when we first opened 10 years ago and we found that didn’t really help us. Our customers are our best advertisement, by far.”

Because a lot of Woofies’ customers stop by weekly, Ackerman tries to keep the merchandise new. 

“We try to never get the same merchandise twice,” Ackerman said. “So it’s always different because our customers are pretty much the same. So we want new stuff in for them all the time.”

The idea for Coffee and Canines stemmed from the community that has been fostered at Woofies.

“We have a lot of customers that just kind of hang out,” Ackerman said. “In fact, a couple of our customers said, ‘you should have a place where we could just hang out and chat with our dogs.’ And we were just like ‘yeah, okay’ and we thought about it and thought about it. [The location of Coffee and Canines] was empty for a long time, and then we rented it out to a couple different people. So my husband renovated the whole thing, and we opened the coffee shop.”

Since its opening on National Coffee Day this year, Sept. 29, the coffee shop has seen a number of visitors. The shop is accessible to the public by a separate door, as well as a sliding barn door inside Woofies, connecting the two. 

Rich typically runs the coffee shop, serving Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters and Numi Organic Tea products as well as various sodas and juices. There are also a variety of snacks in the case that change periodically.

Ackerman said the shop is already seeing an influx of business.

“People come here and bring their dogs; we’ve even had a couple people come and have a meeting here, they all had dogs that they wanted to bring and it was a Saturday so they pushed a couple tables together and went over their notes and stuff,” Ackerman said. “But everybody brought their dog and was able to get a cup of coffee and sit with their dog instead of just going to — and I won’t mention any coffee shops — but a different coffee shop where you couldn’t bring your dog, so that’s kind of our whole premise. It’s not — I mean we have great coffee — but we’re not competing with coffee shops because there’s no coffee shop where you can bring your dog. The whole premise was a place to bring your dog and have coffee.”

Brittany Prevost, an employee at Woofies, also works at Coffee and Canines at times. She said some days there is a big crowd and others they entertain only a few people. Regardless, Prevost said Coffee and Canines is special because it is dog-friendly. 

“You know, a lot of places you can’t do that, so it’s a good addition,” Prevost said. “Saturdays and Sundays especially we’re packed here, and when people are waiting in line they can just go over there with their dog and hang out until it calms down. It’s nice, especially with new puppies, we’ve seen a lot of them; they come in here [for] socialization.”

Josh Long has been visiting Woofies since he was 13 years old when he lived down the road. Now, he brings his dog Luna to the shop for all of her needs, including her food, treats and clothes. He said the addition of the coffee shop was a good idea and enjoys the socialization aspect of it.

“You can go in there, hang out with your dogs; your dogs get to make friends with other dogs,” Long said. “When I come, I’m here for like an hour and a half, two hours, and I just hang out, I talk to Cindy and Rich and Brittany and the customers that come through and it’s sort of like a really big community here. Everybody sort of knows everybody.”

In the future, Ackerman would like to host workshops and seminars, such as CPR training for dogs. She also hopes to do photos with Santa in front of the fireplace in Coffee and Canines.

In addition to the business aspect, Ackerman often has local animal shelters bring dogs to the shop in an effort to get them adopted.

“A lot of different rescue groups will come here with a dog that’s up for adoption; we’ll take their picture, they’ll hang in the coffee shop,” Ackerman said. “We don’t ever suggest like people bring dogs in crates like you see them at other places. But if you have one dog on a leash and walk it around, it makes it more informal, people can pet the dog and interact with it more. And actually we’ve gotten quite a few dogs adopted that way.”

Coffee and Canines is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. In addition to these hours, Woofies is open Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

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Taken by Mathieu Starke, staff photographer

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