Two weeks ago, Maricela Guerra did something truly rare for downtown San Antonio.

She opened a store—for locals.

Dog shop SouthPaw Waggery is a unicorn among downtown's retail offerings because it doesn't strictly cater to tourists. Located on the ground level of the Cadillac Lofts, 317 Lexington Ave., Suite 4, SouthPaw Waggery offers doggy food and supplies—from harnesses to shampoos to toys.

"The focus is not to compete with the big brands, but to have my own set of good-brand quality products," said Guerra, 34, who also maintains a full-time job as a sales manager at Accenture, a global management company.

By choosing the Cadillac Lofts, she's also kitty-corner to the Madison Square dog park, the largest in the downtown area. Guerra said she wanted to meet a market demand—there are no dog shops in the downtown area, including the Pearl.

Originally, Guerra, as a South Sider, looked at Southtown and King William for locations for her pup boutique. She'd spent much of her youth in those neighborhoods growing up. But her concept was rejected.

"Every space I talked to, they wanted the next restaurant, bar or coffee shop—that's all they wanted," Guerra said of the landlords.

"I would say in the last year, all of 2018, it was just consumed by trying to find a space. I had the hardest time."

In two weeks since the grand opening, Guerra has seen pet owners walk in predictably from the Cadillac Lofts, but also from the Southtown area and the Vistana apartments in west downtown, she said.

Guerra, who's mom to a mostly-Shih Tzu rescue, opened SouthPaw Waggery using her own savings.

"It's all me," Guerra said. "I was like, my whole life, go on vacation, buy a car or just dump all my money into this small business?"

"For me the main thing is just bringing something to an area that's really growing—that central downtown area, encompassing Tobin Hill and Southtown," she said. "It's just growing so much, there are a lot more people moving down here."

SouthPaw Waggery is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

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