(WBIR-Knoxville) Millions of Americans treat their pets like humans and spending trends prove it.
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), owners spent an all-time high of $55.7 billion on their animals in 2013. That is more than most countries spend on their military and spending is expected to grow this year.
A new Knoxville business is hoping to help meet the demand. CitiFid-O is expected to open on Union Ave. in downtown Knoxville early next week.
Paul and Terri Karlsson decided to open the upscale pet supply store after seeing the amount of dogs on Union Ave. from their store, The Tree and Vine.
"On Saturday, my husband ends up standing outside holding people's dogs so they can go in the shop. So we're like, man there must be thousands of dogs down here and no pet supply store," Terri Karlsson said.
The Karlssons had the idea to open the store about two months ago. They said it is geared toward the urban dog/cat.
"Oh my gosh, people are like begging to come in and buy stuff," Terri said.
This week, the couple has been stocking the store with high-quality products. A majority of the products are made in the USA.
"According to the folks that have been in the industry longer, more and more products the consumer is demanding be made in the United States," Terri said.
The APPA expects owners to spend $58.5 billion on their pets this year. Americans spend the most amount of money on their pet's food---nearly $23 billion per year. CitiFid-O stocks pet food with human-grade ingredients.
"Knoxville has gone to the dogs for sure and downtown is just a haven for dogs," said David Denton.
Denton lives in downtown Knoxville and owns a Shiba Inu named Aki. He has already looked around CitiFid-O.
"Oh it's going to be fantastic because otherwise we have to drive to west Knoxville. So we'll be the first ones through the door," Denton said.
The Karlssons own three dogs and understand to many people, their pets are a part of their family.
"People want to do well by their dogs. They want to give them good food; they want to treat them good," Paul Karlsson said.
The store will be working with rescue groups and holding adoption fairs on Saturdays. They have also teamed up with local artists who display their animal-inspired artwork in the store.
CitiFid-O is located at 429 Union Avenue.