Dogs First, Owners Second At Nashville's BarkPark

Upstart Bark set out to create something unique for dog owners and their pups. Its BarkPark, which recently opened in Nashville, is a dog park built 100% for dogs. As in dog owners do not take their dogs to the park — rather, it is the dogs who bring their owners along for the journey.

Bark Park storefront with two dogs as customersImage credit: BarkPark

“Bark is the world’s most dog-centric company,“ said Allison Stadd, Head of Brand and Marketing for Retail at Bark.

For example, instead of tables being affixed to the ground, BarkPark's table legs are bolted to ceilings allowing dogs to freely run under tables and "between human legs unfettered by pedestrian things, like normal, run-of-the-mill carpentry." Dog owners, on the other hand, are free to sit and enjoy the things humans enjoy — cups of coffee with their friends, beer tasting, stand up comedians, and other social events like movie watching. Bark's space creates a new space for community — a new, almost town square for those that love the joy and companionship of other dogs and other dog lovers.

In 2012, Bark's founders could not find any fun dog toys that they liked and in turn created the BarkBox subscription service. Now, Bark has unique content, its own e-commerce portal called BarkShop and in-store product placement across many retailers. Dogs come first and their owners come second — a novel approach that the industry can learn a lot from.

seating area in Bark Park inside of large cylinders that look like barrels of hay. Image credit: BarkPark

According to a recent Forbes article, "Bark understands what physical spaces are all about the social joy and memories of being somewhere and doing something, whether as humans or as furry animals. Starbucks may have the market cornered as the third place for individuals, but the market for the third place for dogs and their dog owners is a niche up for grabs."

To read the entire Forbes article, click here.