With dedicated pet zones and innovative services, these malls are pioneering a new era of retail therapy that accommodates every member of the family, including the furry ones
Mumbai: As an owner of a Labrador, Monil Sharma often found himself wishing that he and his pet could enjoy exploring shopping malls together just as effortlessly as any other family member. “As responsible pet owners, it’s important for us to expose our pets to different environments and people. Pet-friendly malls allow pets to become more comfortable and well-behaved in various settings,” he said. Well, there’s good news for Monil and pet parents like him.
Responding to the increase in the number of pet parents in India, shopping malls have begun opening their doors not only to enthusiastic shoppers but also their pets.
“Progressive mall developers should contemplate the creation of pet-friendly spaces to nurture a loyal customer base among pet parents. If our target audience is majorly pet owners, it only makes sense to broaden our approach and allow pets in as well,” said Manoj Singh, vice-president, Forum Mall at the Shopping Centres Next 2023 event held in Bengaluru.
Ajith Khemka, manager, Vega City Mall, said, “We see 200-300 pet owners walking in with their pets on a monthly basis. The numbers are quite high on weekends.”
Here we list two shopping centres that have taken the lead in embracing the trend and allowing pets into the modern shopping environments…
Jio World Drive Mall, Mumbai
Located within Maker Maxity at Bandra Kurla Complex, Jio World Drive covers an area of around 17.5 acres. This shopping destination boasts 72 prestigious international and Indian brands, including renowned names like Coach, Emporio Armani, Steve Madden, Gant, Dior, Clinique, Calvin Klein, SuperDry, Michael Kors, and more.
What sets Jio World Drive apart is its commitment to offering a unique experience for shoppers. Led by young Isha Ambani who heads the Reliance Industries’ retail business, the mall introduces innovative concepts such as the open-air weekend market and Hamleys’ Play, a creative play area designed by the famous toy store chain.
However, what truly makes Jio World Drive stand out is its pet-friendly approach. The mall dedicates 1,800 sq. ft. of space called Wagtail to cater to pet parents and their pet kids.
Wagtail’s pet park features a well-tended picketed turf, an engaging obstacle course, and even a jungle gym. The facility welcomes all breeds, ensuring that every pet feels at home. Run by the White Collar Pet Spa, Wagtail provides a range of pet services, including soothing pet massages, grooming, and stylish makeovers.
For pet grooming services, the authorities advise pet parents to make prior appointments, and the facility can accommodate up to two pets at a time. Wagtail opens its doors to the public exclusively on weekends.
Vega City Mall, Bengaluru
Vega City Mall makes shopping with your furry friends a pleasure with its complimentary pet trolley service. Pet parents can shop with their pets in two if the pet weighs under 15kg. They just need to inform the mall officials before using the service.
Launched on November 24, 2017, Vega City spans 4.50 Lakh sq. ft. and is home to a diverse range of Indian and international brands. From eyewear specialists like John Jacobs and Titan Eye Plus to popular brands such as Sunglass Hut, Starbucks, KFC, Taco Bell, Galito’s, Chianti, Burger King, and McDonald’s, the mall offers various dining and shopping options. Fashion enthusiasts can explore outlets like Bata, Inc. 5, Ruosh, and Mac, while those interested in wellness and skincare can find premium brands like Kama Ayurveda and Forest Essentials, among others.
While these malls welcome pets throughout the year, some malls conduct special events focussed on pets where they welcome pets for some activities and fun for a short period of time. For instance, Inorbit Malls in Mumbai have been conducting such events for pets especially dogs for a couple of years now. Slowly, but surely, malls are getting more inclusive although it will be a while before pet-friendly malls become mainstream rather than an exception.