The owners of Kanine Social just wanted a place to hang out all day with their dogs, so they built an indoor-outdoor park, day care and a taproom.
Jacksonville residents now can hang out with their pets without having to sacrifice socializing with humans.
Kanine Social opened Monday at 580 College St. in the Brooklyn area.
It begins as a dog day care and will phase into a larger indoor-outdoor dog park and taproom next week.
Owners Dustin Fries and Daniel Moffatt spent most of the year reconfiguring a former warehouse space for a new North Florida concept.
They spent a decade in corporate jobs before branching out in their first business together.
“We wanted a place that we could come hang out all day with our dogs,” said Moffatt.
Through 3M RE Holdings LLC they bought an almost 16,000-square-foot building from N&N Cabinets Inc. in November 2017. It was built at the corner of College and Rosselle streets in 1955.
The strategy is this: “People want to hang out with their friends, have a beer and watch football on the weekends but they feel bad because they have to leave their dogs at home,” said Fries.
Fries said that he, Moffatt and their friends often would bring their pets to craft breweries or other establishments, but couldn’t let them off the leash.
“Or they would be restricted to an outdoor patio area,” he said.
They also noticed that dogs didn’t really have a place to run other than outdoor parks.
“Then it’s either raining or it’s 100 degrees at 9 a.m. and your dog’s just not very comfortable out there,” Moffatt said.
At Kanine Social, dogs can be off leash at all times in most of the space.
Currently, dogs are not allowed in the taproom because of Duval County Health Department rules. The owners are working with the department in hopes of changing that restriction.
The dog day care, taproom and indoor dog park comprise 12,000 square feet. About 10,000 square feet is fenced off between two outdoor dog parks and a beer garden with artificial turf.
During a few soft openings and private events, Fries said the dog park accommodated 70 to 80 dogs, but that number will fluctuate when the park opens next week.
Guests can purchase annual memberships to access the park, or pay by the day or month.
“You can also come to the taproom for free,” said Fries. “That’s for everyone. You don’t need a dog to hang out.”
Dog day care services can be purchased per day or in 10- or 20-day packages.
Moffatt said they’ll likely cap the day care at 45 or 50 dogs, “although we could certainly allow more than that.”
“Having a lower number of dogs per staff member means the dogs get more attention,” he said. “It’s safer and it’s less stressful on the dogs.”
The facility features live web cameras, and each pet receives daily “report cards” and updates from staff.
Customers can order a cup of coffee to have ready when they drop off their dogs.
The day care is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The park will open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
The taproom is open 4-10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Fries and Moffatt said about 145 people have purchased park memberships and another 300-400 have registered on the www.kaninesocial.com website.
“We think that once people can really enjoy the space and have as much fun as we’ve had with our dogs over the last couple of months, we’ll get a lot more members,” said Fries.
Finding the right fit
Fries said they looked for years for a building, knowing they wanted to be in the Riverside or Avondale area.
“This is a very dog-friendly part of town and there are a lot of young professionals moving in or already living in the neighborhood,” said Fries.
He said the space needed to be at least 10,000 square feet indoors with plenty of space outside.
The 70-year-old building needed to be completely renovated. Moffatt says they’ve invested more than $850,000 into the project.
“It’s taken a lot of work to get to where we’re at now,” said Moffatt, who said the build-out took about six months.
“This has that industrial feel with the 16-foot ceilings, and we knew it was the right space when we saw it,” added Fries.
The business can’t sell beer and wine yet. They’ve been advised that they’ll receive the necessary license from the city by Aug. 30, just in time for the start of the college football season.
“Once we’ve got that, we’ve already teed up the necessary people to get our first beer and wine order in from the distributors.”
The taproom now features kombucha, premium coffee, craft sodas and water.
It has three 65-inch televisions, life-sized Jenga and Connect Four games, along with other family activities.
They’ve put up three big-screen TVs in the indoor dog park.
“We’ll have food trucks here on the weekends and maybe some weeknights,” said Fries. “We’ll do bar trivia and other fun stuff for families and maybe live music down the road.”
Plans to expand
While Kanine Social operates most of the building, S4 Sports Academy occupies a 4,000-square-foot space.
The academy signed a two-year lease with the previous owner.
“That gives us plenty of time to grow into this space and to plan for what we think can work next,” Moffatt said.
In the future, they might incorporate what they call a concierge veterinarian office.
“The idea is that people could drop their dogs off for day care and while they’re here, get all their checkups or shots done on-site,” Moffatt said.
“They don’t have to worry about taking time off from work or taking a Saturday morning to do it,” he said.
He said they’d probably use about 1,500-2,000 square feet for the veterinarian office and use the other half for a boarding facility.
“That’s in the works for the future, not anything for this year,” he said.