After just six short months of planning (owner Sara Hare doesn’t fiddle around when it comes to what’s best for her canine clients), Piper’s Playhouse is making the move from its current location on Arrow Avenue in Saks to its sunny, spacious new home on Noble Street in downtown Anniston. It’s a 10,000-square-foot venue with tons of room and tons of vintage charm for Piper’s to grow in style.
Next Friday, Sept. 27, at 10 a.m. will be the grand opening of the new facility (There’s gonna be a ribbon cutting, a tour of the new place, and Spirit on Noble’s doing a tethered balloon release. New clients can even score coupons for free doggie daycare ... It’s gonna be a whole big thing — you should come). BUT the big move is actually tomorrow.
This week, Koopa and I got a sneak peek at what’s in the works at Calhoun County’s dog-friendliest destination. Pet parents, let me tell you, if you’re planning to drop your furbaby off for a day of play at doggie daycare this week, you’re in for a treat. If you’re not, here’s why you should:
1. The new 2,500-square-foot play park is entirely indoors, which means when you stop by after work still wearing those new cream pants that cost a third of your paycheck — on sale (not that I’m speaking from personal experience, mind you...) and your pup comes running out all excited to be picked up, you don’t have to worry about muddy paws and dirty noses that have been rolling around in the dirt all day.
“This takes away all the issues you have with yards,” Hare says. “It’s cleaner, safer and climate controlled.”
The antimicrobial Pet Turf Pro surface is made especially for pets. It doesn’t hold on to bacteria, she explained. Plus, dogs love it. “It’s like real grass to them.”
2. Every thing’s bigger and better, except the price. Not only is the play area expanded, the sprawling, hardwood-floored lobby has given Hare the space to drastically increase her merchandise options — think custom football jerseys, Halloween costumes, the entire line of John Paul hair products for pets (“tested first on humans”). Even blue and pink polo-style Thundershirts — for the scaredy cat who knows it’s important to look your best, even when you’re hiding from a vacuum cleaner.
“We’re going to be more like a specialty boutique with customized products,” Hare said, adding that if there’s something people want but don’t see, she can get it. “I can order anything.” And yes, that includes a Bama jersey with Trent Richardson’s number and the name “Koopa” in big letters across the back.
Weekend hours are also expanding. Saturday Piper’s is now open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. with daycare available seven days a week.
3. The best is yet to come. With the move under her belt, Hare says she is ready to start focusing on expanding the services offered at Piper’s Playhouse.
Starting this week, the staff will offer dog-walking services for pups who may need to run off some excess energy or for those who just prefer sniffing and peeing to doggie social hour. But the social butterflies have plenty to look forward to as well. Hare is expecting a donation of oversized fire hydrants for the play park and is planning to add dog-friendly activity stations soon, as well.
Also in the works: classes with a certified pet trainer, a giant jungle gym for Piper’s feline clients and, perhaps most exciting, Hare is working toward “eventually becoming a cageless facility,” starting with expanded suites for boarding.
“We want to be a one-stop shop for everything under one roof.”