Dog care company adds to its pack with purchase of Church Hill competitor

DogServices, which provides dog daycare, boarding and grooming, has expanded into Church Hill with its recent acquisition of Pets at Play. Photo courtesy of DogServices.

With a competitor firmly in paw, Richmond-area dog care chain DogServices has marked its territory in a new part of town.

Last month the company acquired Church Hill-based dog daycare Pets at Play. The deal included both the Pets at Play business and its location at 319 N. 25th St.

Complete terms weren’t disclosed. The property alone sold for $462,500, according to online city records. The 3,000-square-foot, one-story building was most recently assessed at $298,000.

The acquisition is the fourth location for DogServices, which offers daycare, grooming and boarding services for dogs. Its other spots are at 4800 Thalbro St. and 4916 W. Marshall St., which are both near Willow Lawn, as well as in Short Pump at 4545-A Pouncey Tract Road.

DogServices bought the property occupied by Pets at Play at 319 N. 25th St. as part of its acquisition of the business. Jack Jacobs picture.

Michael Muscarella, managing partner of the group that owns DogServices, said the addition of Pets at Play extends DogServices’ reach to new customers. He said the plan is to maintain the Pets at Play branding at the Church Hill location.

“It’s an established business and we have this idea in mind to own dog kennels down Broad Street,” he said. “It’s far away from our other kennels, so it made sense. There’s a little overlap of the businesses but not too much.”

DogServices has 60 employees, including the 13-strong crew that came over with the change in ownership at Pets at Play.

Pets at Play first opened 17 years ago. Former owner Maria Lyn McGinnis didn’t respond to a request for comment.

DogServices was founded in 1990 by Donna Crumpler, who sold it to the investor group that currently owns the company in 2007.

Among the changes in store for Pets at Play will be a retail section later this summer. Retail is new territory for DogServices, and the Church Hill dog daycare seemed like a good candidate because there isn’t competition from grocery stores that would carry the same products.

“We thought it would be a good place to sell food and minor supplies like treats,” Muscarella said.

Muscarella said the company had been on the lookout for an opportunity to grow pre-2020 but put those plans on hold during the worst of the pandemic.

Another draw of the deal was the opportunity to buy the real estate in Church Hill.

“The value of that property in Church Hill isn’t going down anytime soon,” he said.

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