Daniel Moffatt: Finding the courage to pass on a paycheck

The founder of Kanine Social finds success creating a place where you can hang out, “have a beer and let the dogs run around.”

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  • | 1:10 a.m. March 21, 2024
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Daniel Moffatt's Kanine Social dog day care center is at 580 College St. in the Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood.
Daniel Moffatt's Kanine Social dog day care center is at 580 College St. in the Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood.
Photo by Dede Smith
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When former commercial banker Daniel Moffatt founded the Kanine Social dog day care center, boarding service and craft beer and coffee bar with his father and brother-in-law in 2018, he bravely traded savings and loans for barks and brews. 

Moffatt has steadily grown the business at 580 College St. in the city’s redeveloping Brooklyn neighborhood by mostly catering to young professionals on the move, as well as pet owners working from home.

Moffatt, 37, has increased Kanine Social’s annual revenue the past three years  to $1.3 million from $900,000 and nearly doubled staff to 15 since 2021.

He’s also adding a second location in South Jacksonville.

It will be next to his new $2.8 million concept called The Block Jax that will feature an outdoor food hall, live music, a children’s play park, golf simulators, and more. Admission into The Block Jax will be free.

Daniel Moffatt founded the Kanine Social dog day care center in 2018. While dogs play, their owners can drink craft beer and socialize.
Photo by Dede Smith

Born in Tallahassee and a University of Florida finance graduate, Moffatt said he originally came up with the Kanine Social concept in 2016 when he saw a need.

“The idea was to create a place where people could bring their dogs, have a beer, watch some football and socialize,” said Moffatt, whose entrepreneurial start came in eighth grade selling candy, which included “having a bidding war on a Blow Pop” that netted $1.90 profit against an initial investment of 10 cents.

Moffatt and his wife, Meghan, a physician assistant, carefully considered what losing the “complacency of a corporate paycheck” might mean for what would eventually become a family of five.

“It took courage,” said Moffatt, father to Audrey, 6, Henry, 4, and Matthew, 2.   

“We always wanted a place like this where we could have a beer and let the dogs run around and there wasn’t any place where you could do all those things,” he said. 

Kanine Social founder Daniel Moffatt plans to add a second location in The Block Jax along Gate Parkway north of Ikea.
Photo by Dede Smith

“You could go to a brewery and hang out, but your dog had to be on a leash or you could go to the dog parks but there’s no bar, so we just combined the two.”

In addition to boarding, day care and brews, there’s also the Forever Vets: Animal Hospital Florida next door, which, Moffatt said, often serves as a referral source and a resource if a dog needs medical attention.

Moffatt said he loosely based Kanine Social on businesses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; and Dallas; but the boutique-style overnight boarding and veterinary components are “very rare.”

“What I mean by that is we only have 30 boarding suites for boarding dogs and we only take about 30 dogs for day care,” he said. 

“Larger facilities may have 150 or 200 kennels, which is just overwhelming to the staff, for the dogs, for everything.”

Even with the planned expansion off Gate Parkway, Moffatt said the boutique approach will remain. 

“Think of it like a boutique hotel or The Ritz-Carlton, where there are fewer rooms and more dedicated staff,” he said. “Better overall customer service is what we strive for.”

He said expansion might include locations in Jacksonville, but potentially in Gainesville, Orlando, Tallahassee and in Savannah, Georgia. 

He envisions five or six total Kanine Socials across those markets.

“We’re looking at areas that are close enough that we still can still closely manage those locations and have this regional, corporately owned concept,” Moffatt said. There are no plans to franchise.

“I’m looking for something I can build that will support me and support the community long enough until I’m ready to move into the next phase of life after the kids are out of the house.”



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