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Orlando-based Woof Gang Bakery plans rapid expansion over next 18 months

A look at the retail space in Woof Gang Bakery.
A look at the retail space in Woof Gang Bakery.(provided)

Orlando-based retail chain Woof Gang Bakery is on pace for 100 stores in the next 18 months, including up to 10 new units in Central Florida to build on its current 13 in the Orlando area, the company's CEO told GrowthSpotter following the ICSC Florida Conference & Deal Making last week at Orange County Convention Center.

Founded locally in 2007, Woof Gang Bakery now has 63 stores across eight states, 61 of which are franchisee-owned. The company wants to ramp up corporate-owned store growth over the next year in target markets, like those that attract tourists and have major airports nearby, said Paul Allen, founder and CEO.

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The stores feature grooming services, all-natural and premium pet foods, supplies and fresh baked pet treats, with supplies sourced from producers in Orlando, Chicago and California.

The company opened a new distribution center earlier this year on Orlando's King's Point Parkway, an 8,000-square-foot facility to handle the packaging of Woof Gang's private-label products. Roughly $700,000 was invested in new packing equipment for the facility, Allen said.

Woof Gang currently has 13 stores in the Orlando area, with 10 more expected over the next 18 months, the majority of which should be franchises, Allen said. Eleven new stores should open across multiple states this year, with 28 or more in 2016.

A focal market for corporate store growth will be Savannah, Ga., where Woof Gang is now building its third unit, with up to five more planned through mid-2017.

The company is looking for retail spaces of 2,000 square feet or less in shopping centers anchored by high-end supermarkets, and in areas with household income of $60,000 or more.

Woof Gang generated $34 million in sales revenue in 2014, according to Allen, and expects to reach $42 million this year. Allen has grown the company to this point with no debt or minority stakeholders, a point of pride for him.

He's open to a minority partner in the future, but probably only a larger retail business that could offer an established operational and accounting infrastructure outside of Florida. Allen said that would be key to Woof Gang Bakery making the eventual leap from 100 stores in 2017 to Allen's distant goal of 500 stores farther down the line.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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