By Sarah Whitman
Senior Staff Writer
Oakstead residents Mark and Sheryl McEachern wanted to open their pet specialty store, Woof Gang Bakery, someplace close to home.
They chose The Shoppes at Sunlake Center, where several new establishments are scheduled to open over the next few months. Publix Supermarket anchors the plaza, located on SR 54 less than a mile from Oakstead Boulevard.
“We wanted to open a business that would be a part of this community, some place people would enjoy coming to,” Mark McEachern said. “We want this to be a family business, so we wanted it to be right next to home.”
Woof Gang is a chain store known for its gourmet pet treats and cakes. There are locations in Sarasota, Naples and Orlando.
The McEacherns store is tentatively set to open in May and the couple will bake pet goodies using ingredients like pumpkin and peanut butter. Their goodies will even be safe for pet owners to eat.
“When you walk in the store it will smell like a regular bakery,” Mark McEachern said. “It’s a feel good atmosphere.”
Down the sidewalk, shoppers may get lured in by the smell of spicy chicken wings when Beef O’ Brady’s welcomes patrons in May. The tentative grand opening date is set for May 10. The more than 4,000 square-foot-sports pub will have an outdoor patio, complete with corn hole games, and more than 30 TV screens.
The bar is also a big draw.
“We’ll have 30 beers on tap and a full liquor bar,” said co-owner Mike Connor, who is part owner of another Beef O’ Brady’s at Wilderness Lakes in Land O’ Lakes.
Connor said the Sunlake location should bring in good business.
“It’s right by Sunlake High School and Rushe Middle School,” he said. “Ballantrae and Concord Station are nearby, and Oakstead is right next store. We should have a good customer base.”
Oakstead resident Katie Hall said she and husband, Ryan, will definitely visit the restaurant.
“We love Beef’s,” she said. “It’s a fun place and the food’s great.”
Hall already frequents The Shoppes.
“I like the plaza because I can get to it from my house without going on the main road,” she said.
Current tenants at The Shoppes include Publix, Wachovia and Great Clips.
Property manager Equity One has leased space to Diamond Dental and Suncoast Running Supply to open before the fall.
The McEacherns hope the plaza will become an everyday stop for local residents.
“We want to know the neighborhood dogs by name,” Mark McEachern said.
A photo of the family’s first dog, a Boston terrier named Misty, will hang on the wall at Woof Gang. The store will be decorated to look like a boutique, painted with rich chocolate browns and pink accents. There will be a dining room table in the middle of the store with a crystal chandelier hung overhead.
The McEachern’s have one son and are expecting another, so the bakery will definitely be set up kid friendly.
“This is a business where I can bring my sons to work with me,” Mark McEachern said. “We want it to be a success and become a fixture in the community.”
For information on Woof Gang Bakery, call (813) 949-DOGG (3644). For information on Beef O’ Brady’s go to www.beefobradys.com.