A 2008 marketing study conducted by Maxfield Research identified strong demand for a veterinary clinic in the Stevens Square area. Three years later, that demand will hopefully be met by the mid-June opening of Pet Doctors at 25 East Franklin Avenue in Whittier.
The study determined that Stevens Square residents spend about $4 million annually on pets. But with no veterinary clinics in the immediate area — and with a significant proportion of Stevens Square residents not owing cars — neighborhood pet owners typically walk downtown or Uptown to see a vet.
Steve Gallagher, executive director of the Stevens Square Community Organization, said he and other neighborhood leaders initially hoped to locate a veterinary clinic in the old Acadia Café building at the northeast corner of Franklin & Nicollet, but that hope was dashed when it became clear that making the building handicapped accessible would be prohibitively expensive.
Ultimately, the property adjacent to CVS Pharmacy on the southeast corner of Franklin & Nicollet proved to be the best fit — but unfortunately, that side of Franklin is actually in Whittier, not Stevens Square.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t find a spot within the neighborhood, but we’re still going to take credit for recruiting the business and I know they will be a part of our neighborhood too,” Gallagher said.
Pet Doctors will be run by Dr. Joyce Tesarek, owner of Minnehaha Veterinary Hospital in the Northrop neighborhood since 1983, with Jerri Smith serving as lead veterinary.
The clinic will offer basic wellness care, grooming supplies and services, pet food, acupuncture and chiropractic procedures, and hospice care. Surgeries and other major procedures will be done at Minnehaha Veterinary Hospital.
While construction won’t be completed until early June, Pet Doctors already does house calls in the Stevens Square area. And for a limited time, Tesarek has elected to waive the $50 travel fee to encourage pet owners to give the new clinic a try.
“The goal is for this clinic to be a place people can walk to, with supplies and food at affordable prices. We’ll try and figure out what the neighborhood wants as we go,” Tesarek said.
Pet Doctors is slated to open on June 13.