Rawkstar Retailer – Bark Avenue

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Rawkstar Retailer – Bark Avenue

Bark Avenue

Offering pet services in Mesa, AZ for over 30 years, Bark Avenue sets themselves apart in more ways than one. Bark Avenue was purchased by Dr. Ryan Ainsworth in 2018, a veterinarian who graduated with a doctorate’s degree from Illinois State University in 2008. After graduating he started his work in the pet industry at commercial pet stores, which led Dr. Ainsworth wanting to create a unique experience for his clients where they could have everything in one place, so when Bark Avenue went on the market for sale, he knew it was the perfect place to do so.  

Bark Avenue offers a vast variety of pet services: pet supplies, lodging, daycare, training and grooming at their Mesa and Gilbert locations. 

Check out their website for more information.  

WHY & HOW THEY DO THINGS DIFFERENT: 

“Bark Avenue has always tried to be a destination for nutritional knowledge. We spend a lot of time with our staff training them on the foundation of pet nutrition. We don’t want to be that typical commercial pet store where you come in and you go grab a bag of pet food yourself,” Dr. Ainsworth said. He went on to describe the personalized approach Bark Avenue brings to their customers. “…we want it to be a destination more than just convenience,”  Bark Avenue takes pride in spending quality time with each customer to figure out what food is best for your pet(s). 

Ben the director of operations mentioned their secret to keeping their customers coming back for more is having employees who know what they are talking about when asked about nutrition. They take time hiring high quality employees to provide high quality service. With all the training received Ben believes that a raw diet, “…is the most biologically appropriate food for our animals….If we had to pick of course, we would take them to that section.” He has strategically set up the store to direct customers to raw food, “We have a wall of freezers which a lot of people haven’t seen something like this.” 

Bark Avenue is Different

Although a lot of veterinarians are not for raw diets, Dr. Ainsworth has a different philosophy, which he shared with us, “We aren’t going to be the end all be all for every single pet parent out there, we have a very specific focus on the diets we carry…We need to get them whatever works best for them. And I have seen lots of animals that come in on raw diets, even Northwest Naturals – and they look good, great coats, nice trim…For people that have never had it (raw food) before and want to transition, it can be a long transition. You must be a very dedicated owner to do that and it’s not for the faint of heart. But when pets are on it people can see the amazing differences especially with GI issues, and coat issues.” 

The Brands they Carry

Every employee at Bark Avenue is very knowledgeable about the products the store carries and knows the exact reason why they were brought into the store in the first place. “We pride ourselves on the brands we carry, there are not many big box brands here. We are extremely picky with what even comes in our door because we care about the safety of our pets, and we care what they are eating at the end of the day. A lot of it’s going to start with nutrition. So, we base everything in the store on that,” said Ben. “We’ve chosen the brands that we carry because we feel like they are the highest quality pet food out there. We focus a lot more on the smaller companies and mom and pops. I know Northwest Naturals has been around for a while and I’ve seen firsthand the pets that are on your food, and they look good.” Dr. Ainsworth added to the conversation. 

Favorite Northwest Naturals Product:

Their favorite Northwest Naturals product is our Raw Frozen Whitefish recipe for dogs and cats. Although, they love the convenience that comes with our Freeze-Dried products as well. Freeze Dried Treats specifically are another favorite with the variety of single ingredient flavors there are to pick from. “I try to push freeze dried treats to everybody – I think it’s a simple way to up a diet, instead of doing carbohydrate filled treats, let’s do a whole raw treat instead and cut out all the other fillers in other products.” (Benjamin) 

WHY SHOP LOCAL: 

“I have always wanted to create a place for my customers to have a one stop shop to board, groom, hospital, and food – under one roof, and this was the perfect opportunity. The fact that its veterinarian owned plus locally owned and operated we can be a lot more nimble on our decision making. We do want to open other location over the valley, but we are taking it slow – we are very selective. These types of stores aren’t deciduous in the valley- there are a few locations, but I think it’s important for people to come into our stores to see the difference. its night and day. We don’t just hire random people; our staff gets a lot of training. We don’t want our customers to ask a question and not be able to get an answer. We carry tons of supplement-based products also. They can come into their vet appointment and ask me questions based on their health about what they should buy at our pet supply store to best benefit their pet’s health.” – Dr. Ainsworth. 

 

People Mentioned: 

Benjamin Dillon – Director of Operations  

Dr. Ryan Ainsworth – Owner and veterinarian at clinic 

Ellie Urquidez – Marketing Director  

Lillie Ramsey – Social Media Specialist for NWN  

 

Follow Bark Avenue on Social Media: 

Instagram @barkavepet 

Facebook @barkavenuepetsupply