With luxury apartments under construction at the former Mercy Academy and Phoenix Hill Tavern sites, new businesses were bound to pop up in several of the vacant buildings near the intersection of Broadway and Baxter Avenue.
As Insider Louisville previously reported, Thorntons is hoping to open a gasoline station at the corner where the former Bader’s station operated. However, a petition to save an 1890s Highlands home has at the very least stalled that project temporarily.
Now, the old Mr. Transmission at 800 Baxter Avenue has a new coat of paint and is being cleaned up to become a dog day care and retail store called Diditformydogs.
Highlands resident Isaiah Baker says he’s always enjoyed working with dogs and served as manager at Poe’s Pet Depot for two years. He personally has three dogs but looks after more than 70 dogs for clients.
After working for other people, he decided it was time to go into business for himself. He has been operating his day care business out of a storefront along Frankfort Avenue but said he needed to move to a more permanent space.
A former car shop doesn’t seem like the most likely place for a dog day care, but Baker said he liked it because it’s close to home and already has a fenced outdoor area with grass — he plans to replace it with artificial grass at some point in the future.
“There is a little bit of elbow grease I need to put into it, but the outdoor area makes it worth it,” he said, noting that he has been slowly investing his own money to get the business off the ground.
Diditformydogs will include a retail store with food, toys and other dog-related items; a grooming area; more than 2,000 square feet inside of play space for the dogs; and roughly 3,500 square feet of outdoor space.
At the day care, the dogs will be separated into puppies, small dogs and large dogs. They will have “free roam supervised play,” Baker said.
Diditformydogs also will offer dog training classes through a third party, and while dogs are in the day care, Baker said, he will work on behavior modification to curb bad behavior.
People should be able to take their dog out, go eat at a restaurant “without having to worry ‘Is my dog going to bite somebody?’ ” he said.
Working in the industry he realized how much people care for their dogs, Baker said, recalling a military veteran who’d bring his dog in once a month and spend $75 on grooming and toys for his pet.
“Even though he isn’t in a good position,” he said, “it was still like a family member to him.”
Baker said he hopes to open this spring and plans to hire at least one employee to start.