The Coast News Group
NewsOld - DO NOT USE - The Coast NewsRancho Santa Fe

Muttropolis is center of the world for pet parents

SOLANA BEACH – Almost 10 years ago, Janet McCulley left her marketing job with Jack-in-the-Box to plunge into the pet products industry.
Her timing was perfect. From 2002 to 2011, sales of pet products jumped from $29.5 billion to approximately $50.84 billion a year, according to the American Pet Products Association.  
With friends Georgia and Steve Goldberg, co-owners of the Belly Up Tavern, Janet and her husband John founded Muttropolis in Solana Beach.
“At the time, none of us had kids and our dogs were our children,” she said. “We noticed how much money we were spending and knew there were many more like us.”
The partners did their market research and came up with a concept to create an unparalleled shopping experience with a one-of-a-kind environment and design, and specialized products from the whimsical to the practical.
“Our buyers do a good job finding what is new and unique in the industry,” McCulley said. “This is a very personal experience with high quality, unique and differentiated products for pet parents.”
Among the most popular sellers are lifejackets and backpacks for dogs that, like their owners, enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle on the coast.
“When dogs wear their backpacks, they feel like they have a job,” McCulley said, adding that they serve as sort of uniform that gives them a sense of pride.
The pet boutique offers designer collars with matching leashes, tutus for ballerina dogs and evening gowns appointed with Swarovski crystals for that special event.
Muttropolis can also provide an iced, dog-friendly cake handcrafted by a local baker. In addition, they offer their own line of gluten-free “Mutt Muncher” treats.
There are luxury beds, designer pet carriers, dog placemats, dog memorials and a Zen line of raised bowls and organic cotton T-shirts for dogs.
“Anything to spoil your dog, we have,” said Marketing and Special Events Manager Paige Simpson.
An important part of the store’s mission is to support the community. Muttropolis hosts monthly adoption events for local rescue groups as well as breed-specific Yappy Hours for yorkies, golden retrievers and, of course, mutts. Pet parents can relax with a glass of wine while their four-legged party animals mix and mingle, taking a pause to enjoy a special pet treat. Raffles and discount coupons add to the fun.
Muttropolis also hosts “pet look a-like” contests, a Halloween Party and an open house during the holiday season.
“All of us here love dogs,” Simpson said. “Even those who only work two days a week. It makes a difference.”
Once a month, Simpson brings a dog in from the Helen Woodward Animal Center for the day for a chance to place it in an adopting home.
“Paige has a fantastic track record for helping our adoptable animals find homes — the puppies and dogs she takes with her almost always find a forever home within 24-hours,” said Spokesperson Beth Chee. “Having some of our animals visit Muttropolis each month is both great exposure for the center and a wonderful way to let people know there are so many animals out there who need good homes.”
Since opening in 2002, Muttropolis has added stores in La Jolla and Newport Beach.
In addition to products, stores offer services including pet portraits and Gentle Dental cleaning.
“It’s been a labor of love growing the store,” McCulley said. “The most important being is creating a sense of community.”
Janet has earned a reputation that led her to becoming a contractor for Animal Planet, reporting on “The Daily Treat” blog on a variety of topics including product and video reviews, trends and compelling stories relating to both pets and nature.
A few months ago she represented Animal Planet on The Today Show.
Muttropolis is at 227 South Cedros Ave.
For more information, visit, or call (858) 755-3647.