Three Dog Bakery closing, owner says Short North rent is too high

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A business in the Short North that has become a favorite for people and their pets is closing up shop at the end of this month. The owner of Three Dog Bakery says it’s because the rent has been raised and she can’t afford it.

As NBC 4’s Elyse Chengery reports, some fear the closing may be part of a larger trend.

Three Dog Bakery owner Susan Gates says she hasn’t seen her shelves so empty over the last 10 years. She’s devastated her business is closing.

“I’m going to miss spoiling dogs, the staff, the neighborhood everything about it. I feel like we’ve had a wonderful community. I’m going to miss coming to work every day,” says Gates.

Gates opened her store back in 2008 because she wanted to take her two Great Dane puppies to work.

“When I started my business I knew I wanted to provide the best customer service out there. We have regulars you know their name you know their diet you know what treats. You’re not just walking into a big box store you’re walking into a family business that we truly care about all of our customers,” said Gates. She says the rent is raised so much that she won’t be able to afford to stay open.

“There was a major increase that unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to sustain. It’s over 10%. I feel like I started here at a really good time 10 years ago and helped grow the community. I know with big development also landlords are allowed to charge more and get bigger name companies that can pay more rent. Unfortunately, it’s happening in this neighborhood and it’s happened to me and I’m just sad that we’re not going to be able to continue to thrive in this community,” said Gates.

Short North Alliance said they are sad to learn about the Three Dog Bakery closing. When asked about the rent increase, they said, “If inflated rents start to become more than a business can sustain, then that is a challenge we as a community need to confront and address together at all levels.”

Teresa Jacques has been baking at the store for the past eight years saying she’s become a good friend of owner Susan Gates and she’s sad to see her friends business close after so many years.

“Makes me sad. It’s just it’s been really fun to work here and I’m sad to see it go,” said Jacques.

“The pioneers who came in 25 years way before me and started it and paved this area for small businesses has been amazing. I just hate to see small businesses not being able to succeed in a neighborhood because of big development. What I’m most sad about is letting my customers down by not being able to stay open. I want to thank the community and my customers because they’ve been so loyal and kept me here for 10 years,” said Gates.

Full Short North Alliance statement:

We were sad to learn about the upcoming closure of Three Dog Bakery. Three Dog Bakery has been a wonderful and beloved business in our community and Susan has contributed to the creative vibrancy of the Short North Arts District. As an organization, we hope to explore ways to help our community to continue the wonderful events Susan initiated such as Easter Beg and Barkers and Beggars.

Each year we see businesses open and close at a rate of 1.5 to 1. Historically, businesses have closed for any number of reasons, with the most dominant reason being a change in their individual circumstances and not rent. The Short North is an incredibly popular and loved place in our community, where there has been very little commercial vacancy. If inflated rents start to become more than businesses can sustain, then that is a challenge we as a community need to confront and address together at all levels.

In its history, the Short North Arts District has been defined by a large concentration of small and locally owned businesses. In the last ten years, the number of businesses has grown by about 20%. Today there are about 350 businesses in the Short North Arts District. About 90% of our businesses are locally owned or headquartered and about 75% are what we would consider extremely small businesses, employing an average of 20 persons or less. While regional and national chains also have historically been part of our market and do continue to enter our market, they do not dominate. Taking this past year for example, of the 24 businesses that opened in the Short North Arts District in 2017, 18 were unique, locally owned small businesses and 6 were regionally- or nationally-based.

Regularly we hear from not only District businesses, but from locals and visitors that small, unique businesses are so important to the community in the Short North. The most important thing that all of us can do is to continue to keep supporting our remarkable community of small businesses in the Short North Arts District.

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