A Doggie Day Care Service That Comes to Your Building
Buildings come with all sorts of amenities, from spas to golf simulators. Then there are those that offer amenities for your four-legged friends. Mitch Marrow, an NFL player-turned-hedge fund manager, is the founder of The Spot Experience, a service that provides day care, overnight stays, grooming and training for dogs. As a 15-year resident of New York City and owner of two giant dogs, he realized that pet services would make a great amenity for buildings. Since last year, he's been providing Spot services to select buildings on the Upper West Side. We spoke to Marrow about his business.
How did you come up with the idea to offer pet services as a building amenity?
I lived in a pet-friendly apartment with my bullmastiff and St. Bernard, each weighing over 190 pounds, and I couldn't find a services provider that was anywhere near suitable. During this time, I worked at a hedge fund and saw the sector was explosive. I had deep real estate developer contacts and the idea was born.
Are Spot's services provided to all residents as part of their monthly carrying costs? Or do they pay extra for the service?
Each [building] gets their own package of special services and costs. However, beyond the on-site service package we provide in a very concierge manner, the costs for the service are handled directly with the individual.
What kind of services do you offer at buildings? What are the most popular ones?
Services include day care, overnights, long-term country boarding, grooming, training, transportation, as well as retail. The cage-free daycare with door-to-door transport to the facility is most popular due to our highly trained pet care professionals and the accessible high-resolution cameras all members get access too. This means they can watch their dogs at any time during the day.
I've heard of residential buildings offering pet services before, but how would you say Spot is different?
Spot is completely cage-free and we have the safest and most stress-free environment for a dog available on the market today by a long shot. We are the opposite of what the services industry has become — a very high-stress environment for the dog with space mainly set up to attract the owners not best for dogs. We pride ourselves in providing a fun environment for dogs.
What sort of feedback have you gotten from residents?
Elation. The best compliment is when apartments for sale or rent in our buildings get scooped up by pet owners who credit this amenity for their decision to live there.
What do you think are some of the unique aspects of being a pet owner in New York City versus in other cities?
New York City is ten times as intense in many ways. I believe it is harder than in the suburbs because of the cost of living, difficulty in transporting animals versus having a car in the suburbs and the nature of living in an apartment.
You've had an interesting career. How did you get into this business after working in finance and the NFL?
I was in the NFL for three years as a defensive end-third round draft for the Carolina Panthers. After the NFL, I went to work in the hedge fund space. I have always been a passionate dog lover. Because of my frequent corporate travel schedule, I would frequently need to board my 220-pound St. Bernard and 165-pound bullmastiff, which was my first introduction to the lack of quality dog care in New York City. I envisioned a new standard of care in the industry. Additionally, because of working in the hedge fund space, I also had real estate contacts and knew that it would be a great concept to provide services as an amenity in residential facilities.