Dog cafes – businesses where dog owners are welcomed and even encouraged in bringing their pets along with them – are a relatively new concept in Cambodia and the latest entrant into the nation’s burgeoning pet market is unique in that it also incorporates a hotel for our four-legged friends.
Corgi in Town Dog Cafe not only provides pet services and drinks to pet owners, they also provide an opportunity to play with various kinds of adorable dog breeds – around 20 in total – including corgis, huskies, poodles, pugs and others to those who wished they owned a dog but aren’t able to.
The professional puppy-pals are all intelligent and friendly with proper training provided by the cafe’s owner. None of the dogs are accident-prone or indiscreet in their manners, which helps keep the cafe nice and clean.
The cafe is designed around a large doggie playground along with a pet supply store that also offers pet grooming. And of course there are places to sit and enjoy drinks and the company of the dogs at the same time.
Throughout his childhood, the now 27-year-old owner of Corgi in Town, Odom, was always filled with affection for his furry friends.
He came up with the idea of opening a dog cafe when he noticed similar businesses thriving in other countries and he thought this could be something new and different for the Cambodian market – a country where pet ownership has seen significant increases in recent years.
He already possessed most of what he’d need to launch the business in terms of personal skills and it was just a matter of launching a business where he could make good use of them.
“I decided to take advantage of the fact that I loved dogs and I already owned several different dog breeds. And I’ve known all about making coffee and other drinks ever since I was small just by helping my mom out. So I put the two together and somehow turned it into a real business.
“But I wanted everything to go perfectly, so I did about a month of formal training just on preparing cafe drinks. I also bought a few more dogs of different breeds to add to the pack before I opened the cafe back on January 7,” the young businessman tells The Post.
What makes Corgi in Town stand out from other cafes around town where dogs are welcome is the full range of pet services it has available – including a pet hotel where owners can board their beloved animals while away, knowing they will be looked after and comfortably housed.
The dog hotel doesn’t offer Raffles-style five star luxury, but the rooms are set up comfortably with a mattress or bedding for the animal and ceiling fans to keep them cool.
“These days there are a lot more Cambodians who really love animals. Younger people especially love to have a pet at home – at least one, maybe even two.
“And I kept noticing that when my friends with pets wanted to go on a trip somewhere with friends or their family, it wasn’t easy to figure out how to take care of their animals, even for just a weekend.
“Now they won’t need to worry. You can enjoy your vacation to the fullest because the services we provide will keep your buddy safe and sound. They will have a nice place to sleep, good food to eat and they can even play in our dog playground. All for a reasonable charge – starting from $8 a night depending on the size of your dog,” he says.
Odom clarified that the services available to each dog would depend somewhat on the dog’s temperament and how it behaved towards other people and other dogs.
If a dog isn’t friendly enough to be considered safe around people or the other dogs and it’s biting everything within reach then the dog hotel could still possibly board them, but these surlier canines may have to forego the pleasures of the doggie playground due to safety concerns.
Beyond offering an opportunity for joyous interactions with delightful dogs, the cafe itself serves a wholesome variety of various staple cafe drinks. The top sellers in the cafe include the Latte Corgi, Corgi Milk Red Tea, Corgi Lemon Tea, Corgi Milk Red Tea Oreo and Brown Sugar Fresh milk. The prices range from $2 to $3.50 depending on the drink.
From opening day until now the cafe has yet to experience a slowdown in business, according to Odom. On weekdays, the minimum number of patrons who visit is 30 to 100 and on weekends the crowds can barely squeeze in at times.
They sometimes run out of seating for everyone, but surprisingly many patrons are willing to wait until a spot opens up.
Odom says the majority of the customers are Cambodians but he also has regulars who hail from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and France.
Thinking back to his opening day just a few months ago, Odom says he isn’t satisfied with the level of customer service they were initially providing.
“We were fresh into this business and the number of people coming through the door was just way beyond our expectations. That’s why, speaking honestly, our service wasn’t all that great at the start. But we’ve learned some lessons and now when it gets busy we can handle that situation well,” Odom says.
The doggie playground is the central focus of most people’s visits to Corgi in Town. The dog owners can chill out, absorb some fresh air and enjoy their drinks while their dogs can run free in the playground with a pack of new friends.
Odom says that he’d like to expand his facilities even further if possible, allowing for even more space for the dogs to exercise in and more places for their owners to sit.
“There are no limits as far as growth is concerned and I really want to do more for my customers so that we don’t have any long waits for seating while also ensuring that everything is covered by shade,” Odom says.
“Although, at the moment, we don’t have the room yet to hold the size of the crowds were getting, I’m never going to limit the length of time the customers are allowed to spend in here. Rather, the longer they stay the more honoured I feel because that’s the ultimate sign of approval,” Odom says.
Odom told The Post that he wished to express his gratitude towards all the customers who have come to support his cafe and he also wanted to invite anyone who hasn’t come yet – especially dog lovers – to please stop by and check it out.
“If you are searching for a refreshing and relaxing place with a unique twist, you don’t have to go far to find us. We are just outside downtown. You can bring your dog – or if you don’t have one – then come and have fun playing with some of ours,” Odom says.
Corgi in Town Dog Cafe is open from 11am to 6:30pm on Monday and Tuesday and 9am to 6:30pm from Wednesday to Sunday. It is located to the north of Samrong Andet Pagoda across St 1928 in Phnom Penh Thmey commune’s Chres village in the capital’s Sen Sok district at GPS coordinates 11.5908N, 104.8569E.