Pandemic Puppies, Summer And A Labor Shortage: Charlotte Dog Groomers In Huge Demand
Here's a lingering effect of the pandemic: if you're thinking about having your dog groomed for summer, you might have to wait a little longer than usual for an appointment. The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter reports Charlotte-area groomers are seeing a huge spike in business that's partly driven by the increase in the number of people who got pets over the last year.
For more, WFAE's "Morning Edition" co-host Marshall Terry talks to The Ledger's Tony Mecia for our segment BizWorthy.
Marshall Terry: Tony, just how long are pet parents having to wait to book an appointment?
Tony Mecia: Well, Marshall, we called five different pet groomers in Charlotte and the first five that we called rolled over into voicemail and said they weren't taking new clients. But the ones that you can find, it's taking several weeks to get in. We talked to the owner of Animal Artistry in Pineville who said that in 13 years she's never seen people have to schedule as far out as they are now. Used to take two new dogs a week and now it's up to two a day.
So there are big problems in the world. Having to wait a little longer for a pet groomer maybe isn't one of them, but it's an interesting trend.
Terry: Now, there was an increase in the number of people who got pets over the last year while they were stuck at home. But you report that that's only part of what's driving these long wait times to book an appointment at the groomer. What else is going on?
Mecia: Yeah, it's true that a lot of people got puppies when they were home during COVID, but this is also running into some other trends as well. You know, Marshall, we've talked a lot about this labor shortage — that employers cannot find the workers that they need. That's part of what's going on here. There's a shortage of groomers; there just aren't the people to come in and clean up these dogs. And then also more people are getting grooming right now. It's a little bit of a summer phenomenon where people want to bring their pups in to get their summer cuts.
Terry: A brewery near uptown Charlotte called Unknown Brewing has announced it will scale down its operations to focus on ginger ale and will no longer make beer. Is this a sign that Charlotte's craft beer bubble may have burst?
Mecia: You know, Marshall, a lot of people say that whenever we have a brewery that closes or sells — and we have had those over the years. But we also are seeing breweries that are continuing to open up. There's a new one that was reported this week opening on the west side. There's a new one that opened a few weeks ago on Monroe Road toward Cotswold. So I think that the market for breweries is still looking pretty strong.
In this case, Unknown Brewing, which is located a few blocks away from Bank of America Stadium near South End, the owner, he posted on Facebook that he was getting a little bit mentally tired. Wanted a little bit of a break. And so what he's going to do is he's selling off the beer lines and going whole-hog, 100% in on ginger ale. So he's going to focus on his ginger ale line, which is, he says, the fastest growing part of their business.
Terry: So is craft ginger ale a thing, then?
Mecia: Apparently. You know, they're doubling down on it and going hard on craft ginger ale. You know, we're seeing a lot of different craft products. You know, you have seltzers and now ginger ale, I guess, is one. So keep on the lookout for that.
Terry: Well, onto some real estate news, now. Charlotte-based Fortune 500 steel company Nucor has announced that it bought a four-story office building in SouthPark. Is it relocating its headquarters there?
Mecia: Well, Marshall, Nucor's existing headquarters is in SouthPark on Rexford Road. This is a purchase of a building across the street, catty-corner for $21 million. So they're expanding some of their operations into there. They say they're not moving the headquarters across the street. It's more of an expansion.
Nucor has traditionally run a very lean headquarters operation. And as of a couple of years ago, they had only about 100 employees in Charlotte, in the headquarters. And so this is sort of a sign that maybe they're getting ready to expand that a little bit as they continue to grow. It's a pretty good time for steel companies, very strong demand for steel companies coming out of a pandemic.
Terry: Finally, you report there's an update on a story that you've been following, a member of Myers Park Country Club that's suing the club. So, what's going on?
Mecia: Yeah, so this is sort of an ongoing saga at Myers Park Country Club. You have a member who is suing the club, trying to get records related to the board's decision to undergo a $27 million renovation. It's a little bit controversial among a small group of club members because they're going to be expanding the men's only area into what is now a co-ed dining area. So a lot of club members don't like that.
So a club member named Mark Erwin, he's a former U.S. ambassador, he's suing, trying to get those records. There was a deposition last week in which lawyers for Myers Park Country Club asked him to reveal who else had passwords for an email account called "Women of Myers Park," and he refused to do that. And the lawyers argued, they took it to the judge and the judge said, You don't have to answer that. But there was a little bit of a spat over whether he had to reveal who he was working with as there's this publicized rift at Myers Park Country Club.
Terry: And what happens next?
Mecia: Well, that lawsuit is ongoing and the club has turned over some of the financial records. But Erwin says he wants some more. The club, meanwhile, sounds like it's moving forward with the renovation, which I think is supposed to start in July.
Terry: All right, Tony, thank you.
Mecia: Thanks, Marshall.