Business development / Lifestyle / Municipal government / Startups

Dog Parker is no more. Meet DogSpot and its national expansion plans

The startup that was booted from Brooklyn sidewalks is now being welcomed in a number of other U.S. cities. We speak with founder Chelsea Brownridge on the push for NYC legislation changes and the company's growth.

A Dog Parker being removed in Brooklyn. (Courtesy photo)

Brooklyn startup DogSpot, which recently changed its name from Dog Parker, is preparing for a national expansion, even as it fights to remain in its home city.

The makers of internet-connected doghouses have announced plans to add roughly 2,000 units in over a dozen cities across the country by year’s end, including Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Jose, Orlando, Kansas City, Charleston, S.C., and Jersey City. The doghouses would be installed on sidewalks outside highly trafficked stores, providing owners with a safe place to leave their dogs while they shop.

“Smart cities are recognizing that meeting the needs of dog owners adds to a city’s walkability, supports brick-and-mortar retail economy, and nurtures a sense of community,” DogSpot founder and CEO Chelsea Brownridge said. “For the last two years, we’ve had people beg us to come to their city next, to which we’ve always had to reply ‘not yet.’ But now I’m thrilled to say ‘We’re ready!'”

Meanwhile, legislation that would allow DogSpot to continue operating in New York was introduced to the New York City Council last month and is currently working its way through committee. DogSpot had to take all of its doghouses off the street in February after the Department of Transportation said the company was not in compliance with DOT regulations. At its peak, DogSpot had over 50 doghouses outside Brooklyn stores with over 1,000 customer accounts. Brownridge said it could take six to eight months for the bill to pass.

“Momentum on the bill feels good,” Brownridge said. “Our two biggest priorities right now are expanding into new markets and fighting to stay here.”

Mayors from all of the cities DogSpot is targeting for expansion have sent formal letters of invitation allowing DogSpot to operate within city limits, according to Brownridge.

“Orlando is a proud dog-friendly community, also known as a leader in technology and innovation,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement. “DogSpot supports our commitment to both. We can’t wait for DogSpot to make our downtown a healthier and even happier place to live.”

“As a dog owner myself, I know that when I can bring my dog, I’m even more excited to explore, and DogSpot makes that more possible than ever,” said Bob Bennett, Chief Innovation Officer of Kansas City, Mo.

In addition, DogSpot is partnering with developers to install doghouses in malls and other mixed-use properties outside of major urban areas.

As for the name change, Brownridge says it is a better reflection of what her company does. “It has a better ring to it,” Brownridge said. “We are creating these safe places for dogs on the go.”

Series: Brooklyn

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