The Barkery Bistro caters to your four-legged best friend
When two handsome Golden Retrievers handle your public relations, you’re bound to be successful. Just ask Meghan Ludwig, whose dogs, Bentley and Duncan, unleashed the idea for The Barkery Bistro. It was the retrievers’ food allergies that put Meghan on the scent of healthy dog foods and treats for her pets. From there, the idea blossomed into a full-service dog boutique, with her mother, Diane, as owner and Meghan as managing partner.
Before forming their business, mother and daughter were living in Charleston and Atlanta respectively, and would often meet in Greenville. “We fell in love with downtown Greenville and the feel of Main Street,” Meghan says. And so, in 2008, they chose Main Street as the location for The Barkery Bistro.
It was slow going at first, but Bentley and Duncan worked their canine magic as Barkery mascots and official greeters to lure people into the shop. What Meghan and Diane find most rewarding about their business is being able to spread the dogma of good nutrition, training, and care. “People bring their dogs into the store, so we get to know them,” Meghan explains. “That way, we can better recommend specific natural foods and treats.”
Working with local charities is another significant aspect of the business. Through Barkery Bistro’s Charity of the Month program, the mother-daughter duo raises money for a different nonprofit animal rescue each month. They also donate to animal-related events. “To date, we’ve contributed to about 50 local charities,” Meghan says.
This month, The Barkery Bistro celebrates its fifth anniversary, in a new location on Augusta Street. Why the move from Main Street? In its five years (or 35 dog years), the shop has grown to include a dog-grooming service, and the lack of parking downtown became a problem.
The new location, in a shopping strip near Faris Road, has plenty of parking and gets a paws-up from owners and customers alike. “We love it on Augusta,” exclaims Meghan. “It has a real neighborhood feel.”
“People have fun when they come in the shop,” she adds. “They love looking at the display case full of homemade dog treats.” Formed into shapes like stars, hearts, and “pupcakes,” the pastel-iced confections look so delicious that more than one two-legged customer has mistaken the sugarless, hard-baked canine confections for human cookies.
Customers also can find Puppy Crack, Barkery’s best-selling natural treat, as well as Bowser Beer (chicken- and beef-flavored non-alcoholic brews) and doggie wine (a vitamin-spiked broth) in “varietals” like Pinot Leasheo and Sauvignon Bark.
Duncan now leads the pack in attracting customers, as, sadly, Bentley died suddenly of cancer in December. Even alone, Duncan does a fine job of herding folks into the store. After all, who can resist those big brown eyes?