Milford pet emporium moves to bigger space

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Fur Baby Pet Resort owner Sherry Shupe stocks dog treats at the store’s new location on NE Front Street in Milford. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

MILFORD — Last week, the excited barks and howls often heard on Northeast Front Street moved a little further down the road.

Fur Baby Pet Resort just moved to their new space at 301 Northeast Front St., across from their old location next to Arena’s.

“We were at capacity,” owner Sherri Shupe said of the former space. “Our goal has always been to provide above and beyond services and experiences, so we really needed a facility that we could design to those needs.”

Her husband and co-owner State Rep. Bryan Shupe (R-Milford) was also excited about the move when asked about it in December.

“We’ve fortunately been supported over the years by the community and have seen a lot of growth and calls for more need of our services, so we actually will be growing our day care and overnight services by quite a bit,” he said.

Daycare Attendant Jordan Porto plays with Poodle Mix Manny, Springer Spaniel Chip and Yorkshire Terrier Mollie in the indoor day care area. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

The design the Shupes chose for the once abandoned former Growmark warehouse is modern and lofty. The plans, which were drawn up by local architectural firm Archology, also preserve the building’s industrial character.

Fur Baby offers a wide array of pet-oriented services including a doggy daycare, overnight boarding and grooming. She also sells leashes, treats and high-quality pet food and anything else a cat or dog would ever need.

“Our facility has a little more than 10,000 square feet inside and three-quarters of an acre outside in the play yards,” Ms. Shupe said.

She said the extra space will allow her to add new services, which will be coming soon.

“We will have a water park for dogs. We’re going to be working on agility courses and training. We have expanded into luxury cat boarding, so we have cat suites,” Ms. Shupe said.

The cat boarding will be available beginning next month, she said, after the suites are fully built out. Currently, she is holding a contest amongst her employees to identify the best idea for a design.

While the Shupes weren’t moving their business very far, it was still a lot of work.

Fur Baby Pet Resort owner Sherry Shupe with two of the daycare guests, Poodle Mix Manny and Hound Mix Petey. (Special to the Delaware State News/Ariane Mueller)

“We were able to utilize family and friends for the move, and it took about five solid days,” Ms. Shupe said.

This was not the first time the couple has moved their business, which will be 10 years old in April.

“We started off in downtown Milford in a shop that was about 600 square feet, and all we did was retail,” Ms. Shupe said.

After about a year, they expanded into a new space around the corner.

“We added daycare and had full-service grooming at that point, too,” Ms. Shupe said. “That location was about 2,000 square feet.”

After two years, the Shupes ran out of space again, and moved into the space next to Arena’s. They were there for six years.

Although the Shupe’s most recent move is not their first, it is their first time moving the business into a building they own.

“I think it’s essential for any business owner for financial independence,” Ms. Shupe said of owning her own building. “At all of our past buildings, we went in and we rehabilitated those buildings, losing that money we invested. Every time we moved, that investment stayed, so we’d have to start over.”

Mr. Shupe said in 2019, the couple bought the defunct warehouse with local investor Jeff Bowers through a limited liability company called Mispillion Gateway.

The trio also have a second shop in the building, which they plan to rent out to Grant Shane, the owner of Clear Definition Auto Body on Rehoboth Boulevard, who will open a car detailing operation.

“We’re doing high-end cars, high-end detailing,” Mr. Shane said at a Planning Commission meeting in December. “Not just car washes.”

He expected the business to “bring in a lot of different people from all over the state. I’ve got a lot of clientele from all over, not just Milford.”

Ms. Shupe said she expects Mr. Shane to move in to her building at some point next month.

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