Naperville's Dog Patch to close Aug. 31 after 49 years in business
Greg Gordon put his heart and soul into Dog Patch Pet and Feed, selling supplies and providing rescue animals with a safe space until they find a forever home.
That makes the looming closure of his Naperville shop all the more painful.
Promoting and facilitating pet adoption has been the driving force behind Gordon's business model, exemplified by a mural painted two years ago on the side of the building at 1108 E. Ogden Ave. And it's the reason Dog Patch has been able to stay alive into its 49th year, he says.
But money has been tight, and shopping habits have shifted since Gordon took ownership in 2010 -- struggles that were only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. After evaluating the shop's finances, Gordon said, he realized he had no choice but to shut down.
"The (decision) really was about me coming to terms with the reality of the situation," he told the Daily Herald. "It was really painful."
Dubbed "Naperville's original pet store," Dog Patch opened in 1972 and started getting dogs and cats from reputable breeders, according to the website. After founder Craig Allen died in 2010, Gordon, who began working for the shop 25 years ago, purchased the business and made the switch to exclusively rescue animals, he said, adopting them out for a fee to cover veterinary services.
Dog Patch has averaged about one adoption per day for the last decade, he said, a model that also supports the sale of pet food and supplies.
Though allowed to continue providing its essential services through the pandemic, the shop has had to adapt by offering curbside pickup and free local delivery. But a growing number of people transitioned to ordering their pet food and other merchandise online, resulting in a significant hit to Dog Patch's finances, Gordon said.
He announced the shop's Aug. 31 closure in a Facebook post last month, saying "inside and outside factors all piled up."
"This has been a difficult stretch. The bottom line is that we are not currently bringing in enough money to cover our expenses," the post said. "I want this community to know how deeply we appreciate your support. So many of you are more family than customers. We will miss you."
Dog Patch is working to sell its remaining inventory and adopt out its remaining animals, Gordon said. In addition to ensuring the pets find new homes, he said, his greatest concern is ensuring his employees land on their feet and find new positions.
"You will never find a group of more dedicated people anywhere," he said in the Facebook post.
"This is a profoundly sad day," he continued. "It hurts to be here. We gave Dog Patch everything we had."