City Paws expands to Southwest

City Paws
Daniel and Sitania Kerkinni, pictured with their 2-year-old daughter, Leona, plan to open a new City Paws location in West Maka Ska this fall. Photo by Andrew Hazzard

A Downtown dog daycare, training and boarding center is expanding to Southwest Minneapolis this fall.

City Paws Pet Club plans to open its second location off Excelsior Boulevard in West Maka Ska this October, taking over the space formerly occupied by multiple shops, including Moss Envy and Indulge & Bloom.

Daniel and Sitania Kerkinni, the husband and wife team behind City Paws, opened their first location Downtown in 2018. The club offers daycare, grooming, boarding and training services.

Inside their new 8,000-square-foot center they will have play areas for small, medium and large dogs, 35 boarding rooms and a grooming center. The buildout involved knocking down walls and installing new plumbing, which was a bit of a pain due to its location on the site of an old city dump from the early 1900s, Daniel said.

Daniel has a background in finance and Sitania is a former teacher and preschool director. They formed City Paws to turn their love of pets into a business and grew their first location Downtown via word of mouth. Using Sitania’s background in education, they have created a new model for dog daycare that they call preschool. The idea is to give dogs staying there more structured, stimulating and purposefully directed activities than standard playtime. Play sessions are designed by experienced dog trainers and the animals are given more rests and alone time to properly socialize, she said.

People boarding their pets can schedule FaceTime appointments or opt for a larger lodging space with a built-in puppy cam. The cameras are very popular with clients, the Kerkinnis said.

“It’s a big deal — where you leave your little ones,” Sitania said.

COVID-19 has brought some shifts in which services customers want. More people are staying at home and not putting their dogs in daycare, but the puppy adoption boom that came along with the pandemic has been good for business.

“Our training service has really taken off with that,” Daniel said.

They said they were attracted to the Bde Maka Ska area because there are many pet-owning professionals who live in condominium and apartment spaces and want to give their dogs a chance to spread their legs.

“We really like to be in residential neighborhoods,” Sitania said.

City Paws
3054 Excelsior Boulevard