by Seth Piccirillo
“I love what I do. It's incredible to be able to talk, laugh, serve, cook, and help people enjoy their stay in Niagara Falls.”
A conversation with a woman from the Czech Republic. Serving food to a man from India. Doing business with a family from Brazil. These are not three separate story starters, but rather 20 minutes from Dom Grenga’s typical workday.
Dom is the owner and operator of Downtown Dogs, an apparel shop/ fresh grill at 360 Rainbow Blvd. Downtown Dogs provides tees, hats and sweatshirts featuring countless custom "Niagara Falls" inspired designs. Dom’s own favorite design is Devil’s Hole by graphic designer Dylan Goodsell.
Downtown Dogs is in the center of downtown Niagara Falls immediately surrounded by the Hyatt Place construction site, One Niagara and the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. It may be the smallest structure amongst them, but Downtown Dogs continues the proud tradition of local business people greeting the world in the tourism district. While downtown has changed over the past decade, as proven from a view from outside the Downtown Dogs hut, visitors from around the world still want to take a piece of Niagara Falls with them. They want that Niagara Falls shirt. Dom provides that souvenir, but has found a way to actually make them appealing to locals as well.
“It is an honor knowing that people from all over the world are proudly wearing a Niagara Falls t-shirt, hoodie, or hat designed by a local artist and sold at my small business.”
A visit to Downtown Dogs is also a lesson in the millennial business plan. Dom, a 2008 Niagara Catholic High School graduate, executes sales for an app on his cellphone, uses social media to advertise new specials and apparel design and is operating a pop up shop that could be moved anywhere, not confined to bricks and mortar and all of the related issues that often harm new small businesses. Downtown Dogs is mobile in every sense of the word. Still, he decides to operate right here in Niagara Falls, with big plans for the future.
“We are blessed to have one of the world’s natural wonders in our backyard. I couldn't be more thankful to own a business in downtown Niagara Falls.”
Eventually, Dom plans to open a storefront in downtown Niagara Falls, where he can continue to provide custom apparel and a solid lunch, without having to worry about rain clouds.
Downtown Dogs proves that the tourism district is not just for visitors, and is in fact improved by locals. Dom has carved out his place at the corner of Rainbow Blvd. and O'Laughlin Drive. Stop by and see him.