Latitudes and Longitudes

By Caitlin Maloney Kuchemba
Photography By Alexa Nahas Photography
(alexanahas.com)

 

It’s not unusual to walk into Latitudes and Longitudes and be greeted by several wet tongues and wagging tails. And that’s exactly how shop owner, Meredith Podob-Gornick, likes it.

Though Meredith is a dog mom herself, she chooses to leave her pups at home to give all of her attention to the dogs that visit her in the shop.
“I love having other dogs in the store all day,” she said. “It just brightens my day when I see them walk in.”

From the time Meredith opened her shop, she immediately noticed the need for a pet-friendly store, mainly due to Manayunk’s growing dog population. She brought in pet-themed inventory, adjusted the store layout, and began offering perks to her four-legged customers.

Walk to the back of Meredith’s shop and you will find a whole section of the store that has been dedicated to pet-themed inventory.

“There’s something to buy for yourself, for your pet-loving friend, or for your four-legged friend, too. Everyone has a friend that is obsessed with their dog,” Meredith laughed.

Meredith carries everything from pet toys, frames, mugs, and signs, to paw print leash hooks and a wooden pet toy box from one of her favorite companies, Rustic Marlin. And, she has big plans for the future — Meredith will be expanding her pet-friendly inventory to notebooks, journals, and even cat-related items.

“I’m really excited to be bringing in more products for our pet customers,” Meredith said. “I just ordered some new toys from Harry Barker. They have really funny and unique stuffed toys, like leopard print slippers.”

In order to make sure the shop is set-up for her four-legged shoppers, Meredith has made a few modifications to the store layout.

“I always make sure there are no breakable items on the ground so my dog shoppers don’t have to worry about knocking anything over,” Meredith said. “I also always have the dog toys on the lower shelves, too, because every dog should be able to pick out their own toy.”

One of the perks of shopping at Latitudes and Longitudes are the treats. Every dog that walks into the shop is always offered a Milk-Bone — though, many know exactly where to find the Milk-Bones on their own.

“So many customers tell me that when they turn the corner onto Main Street, their dog leads them right into my shop,” Meredith laughed. “They know exactly where to find the treats!”

She’s also heard many stories from customers about how their dog sits outside of her shop early in the morning before the shop opens with their nose pressed against the window.

“They know I’m the treat lady, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Meredith laughed.

For many Manayunk dog owners, a stop at Latitudes and Longitudes to visit Meredith is part of their walk. One dog, Emma, and her owner, Diane, sometimes stop in multiple times a day.

Even dogs that haven’t been in the shop before walk by and pull their owners in because they can smell the scent of other dog shoppers. Sometimes, Meredith joked, she becomes friendly with her dog customers before getting to know their owners.

Over the years, many dog owners have become her best customers and some of her closest friends, including Juliane Holz, who helps out at Latitudes and Longitudes on the weekends.

In the summer, you’ll usually find Julia’s dog, Theo, working in the shop. His sole job is to make sure there is always fresh clean water in the bowl and greet his fellow dog customers, whether they are a regular or a first-time shopper.

Connecting with so many pet owners has also led Meredith to get more involved in the pet community in Manayunk. Seven years ago, she started Santa Paws, an event in December where pets can get their photo with Santa, and she even helps run the @dogsofmanayunk Instagram account.
“We started the account because there were so many different dogs we would meet and we wanted to share them with everyone,” Meredith said. “We’ve connected a lot of dog owners together through their dogs.”

Having dogs in her shop, running Santa Paws, and posting on the @dogsofmanayunk Instagram account has allowed Meredith to see so many Manayunk dogs grow throughout the years, from puppies to full-grown pooches.

One thing is for sure though, “Once they have their first Milk-Bone, they’re hooked,” Meredith said.

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