A pair of software designers are using their industry experience to start a Jefferson Park dog park and taproom.
Husband and wife Layton Judd and Louise Fahys said they’re building the type of place where they want to take their dog Barkley.
“There’s really no place to go to hang out with your dog and friends and chill out,” Judd said.
The result is Happy Dog Park & Taproom, an astro turf dog park with a self-serve tap wall and food truck service that the couple are working to open at 2850 W. 26th Ave.
The business will operate on a membership model, with options for $35 a month or $240 a year. A single visit will be $15. And that’s per dog — humans don’t need a membership and just pay for anything purchased.
“The customer is not somebody who comes to buy beer, the customer is the dog,” Judd said. “It’s a private club for the dog.”
Judd said the park will be 5,000 square feet and have deodorizing and cleaning agents to eliminate odors. There will also be a 1,400-square-foot tap room and a 200-square-foot deck.
“The amenities for a dog should be the same as what you would want,” Judd said. “To owners, pets are like their babies, so we’re going to do our best to keep a clean facility.”
The couple signed a lease at the Jefferson Park location because they say data shows roughly 40 percent of the surrounding residents have dogs. The property was previously used by Enterprise, the car rental agency.
Fahys founded Code A Site, a company that builds and maintains websites for clients, and Judd founded 3 Birds Marketing, which focuses on the automotive industry. They said they’ll probably keep working in the tech industry after opening.
“We’re entrepreneurs, so this is to us just like a tech business,” Judd said.
At Happy Dog, pet parents will need to download the app Plan2Play, which Fahys was created by Fahys, to register their dog, upload vet records and manage membership.
Fahys said this business is not just about dogs. With the app, members can connect directly and meet up outside of the taproom.
“The main passion we have is community,” Fahys said. “That’s why I made the app – it could be a really great place to meet people, and dogs are great conversation starters.”
The business is currently in the permitting process with the city. If everything goes well, Judd said, the pair plan on opening in the fall. They expect to invest upwards of $500,000 in the buildout.
Happy Dog & Taproom will be open most the day, Fahys said, serving coffee in the morning.
Judd and Fahys aren’t the first to explore pet-friendly businesses locally. Justin Henry opened the Watering Bowl in 2013, offering a place for pets to play and owners to drink without a membership model. Judd said it closed in January.
“They set the groundwork potentially for our business to go through,” Judd said. “We owe a thank you to them.”