Gone To The Dogs

By Valerie Russ
Philadelphia Daily News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Adina Silberstein turned her passion for pets into a profitable business. “Queenie’s”, her dog-walking and pet-sitting service which she launched from home 10 years ago, now operates out of a cozy storefront with 17 employees. Silberstein was helped along the way through Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program.

Philadelphia Daily News

A RED, antique-looking vending machine full of dog treats is posted outside Queenie’s Pets in Mount Airy. A bowl of water is nearby.

The store’s owner, Adina Silberstein, started Queenie’s, a dog-walking and pet-sitting service, 10 years ago as a home-based business with just one employee.

Early last year, the Mount Airy native moved her business, now with 17 employees, to a large but cozy storefront at Germantown and Mount Airy Avenues. She had dreamed of this spot for years.

“I knew this location was where I wanted to be,” said Silberstein. “It’s next door to McMenamin’s [Tavern]. It’s in the heart of my neighborhood. It’s a space where you can see and be seen.”

But it’s not a doggy day-care at the store. Her employees care for pets from clients’ homes.

Pet care was a $53 million industry last year, she said. That’s not counting veterinary care.

More pet owners are no longer relying on the teenager next door to walk their dogs.

“Our culture has shifted, where our pets are more like family members,” Silberstein, 40, said.

“We are caring for them and looking for caregivers often in the same manner in which we look for care for a child.”

Silberstein’s employees must be 21 or older. They not only have to pass criminal background checks, but are trained by certified pet and dog trainers to spot potential health problems.

She also pays employees a livable wage of about $15 an hour, she said: “It’s an alternative career for people who love animals and being outdoors.”

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