RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Natalie Moore got the idea to start a new business, called Ruff Canine Club, after visiting a dog park bar in Greensboro, North Carolina called Doggo’s Dog Park and Pub.
The canine club coming to Scott’s Addition this fall will be the first of its kind in the Richmond metropolitan area.
The park and bar will be on a 1-acre plot right next to laboratory equipment supplier Grenova’s new headquarters.
Moore, a Tennessee native and University of Virginia graduate, said she and her boyfriend met a lot of their friends at the dog park at their apartment complex when they first moved to Richmond because that was the only place they could hang out during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing that, she noticed the need in the Richmond area for a place dogs and their humans could socialize.
“I think it’s just a really unique opportunity for people that are new to Richmond to kind of find community,” Moore said in an interview with 8News Tuesday.
Ruff Canine Club, on Ellen Road, will have a grand opening celebration on Oct. 30 with giveaways, live music and a caricature artist.
Moore said she plans to hold a soft opening for the new business about a week before the grand opening party.
She said the park bar will have the ability for dog owners to connect to Wi-Fi, allowing those who have had to work from home to have another option instead of staying inside all day.
“A lot of people are going to continue to stay remote and I know there’s plenty of incredible places around Richmond that support work from home environments and so this is just one we want to add to the list,” she told 8News.
Moore said the turf at Ruff Canine Club is irrigated, allowing water to run throughout it to clean it. After hours, the turf is sanitized with a chemical that Moore said poses no safety hazard to dogs.
For humans, Moore plans to have yoga incorporating beer and dogs, a park food menu with beer and wine, seating, yard games like cornhole and acoustic live music.
Visitors may also see dog trainers with tips and tricks, veterinarians and groomers present to help dog owners.
The membership purchased is for the dog, not the human. Moore said a day pass is $10, a monthly pass is $30 and an annual membership for a single dog household is $275. There is other pricing for a two dog household membership.
Every human can bring up to two dogs and visitors are welcome to come without a dog.
Moore said monitors will be present watching for aggressive behavior from dogs, but no breeds are restricted from joining.
There will also be customer service staff helping visitors understand park rules in the separated small and large dog areas.
A dog is required to be spayed or neutered after they’re a year old and there’s a list of shots that are required for your dog to enter the club.
Moore said the park uses a software to upload a dog’s vaccination records. It will email dog owners when it’s time for new shots.
She plans to partner with local businesses to host events at the park and said the new business will give a boost to the area’s economy.
“As growth kind of moves into this area with renovations with the diamond that a lot of people are looking at and VCU’s athletic village, I think it’s just going to overall really strengthen this part of the community,” she said.
Moore said she plans to add seasonal things like swimming for dogs in 2022.