Anderson County native opens boutique dog supply store in downtown Anderson
Anderson’s first canine boutique opened downtown Oct. 1.
To owners Clay Martin and John Frampton, it wasn’t enough to open a store with supplies and dog food, the experience of shopping for your furry friend needed to be niche and luxurious.
Calling on their combined decades of high-end fashion knowledge for names like Bergdorf Goodman and Nieman Marcus and their love of dogs, they created Bark International, which has its first store at 404 S Main St. Martin and Frampton intend for the shopping experience to be different from any other pet supply shopping experience.
“What we wanted to do was create an environment where when you walked in, your first impression was, ‘What is this?’ We don’t want you thinking, ‘Oh, I’m in a pet store.” Martin said. “Even though we’re selling, we don’t want you to feel like you’re being sold.”
The boutique specializes in items that allow you to give your dog the very best. All the supplies they carry are meticulously chosen based on ingredients and quality. They’re even more conscious when it comes to dog food, featuring a selection of raw dog food, which they’re happy to educate their customers about. They also offer dry dog food for those who aren’t comfortable with raw dog food.
They stress that their focus is on being able to give dogs the best because they had such a struggle finding things they wanted their 10-year-old pugs, Jasper and Otis, to have.
Martin grew up in Williamston and left after high school, but he and Frampton have had a home in Anderson for more than 15 years.
While looking for the ideal spot to open their first brick and mortar, the duo returned to Anderson in 2017 for one of their regular visits and noticed a change in downtown. It had what Martin describes as a “vibe” to it. He sees Anderson as having an opportunity to become an “artsy town.” They also received a $10,000 grant from the city to open the store.
“We’re very proud to be in Anderson,” Frampton said. “We’ve lived here for 15 years, we know the community here, there are amazing people here.”
Martin and Frampton are invested in plugging into the Anderson community, with plans to partner with Anderson County P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Worth Saving) to hold monthly adoption events at Bark.
“We’re committed to those kinds of things,” Martin said. “We don’t feel that we can just be a shop. If we’re not willing to be a part of what’s going on here, it just doesn’t make sense to us emotionally [to be here].”
The next step for Bark International will be a downstairs grooming spa in the spring. Like the shopping experience, customers won’t just drop off their dogs. They’ll be able to watch their dogs get groomed while enjoying a luxury spa experience themselves. Then comes a location in Greenville within the next two years.
The goal is to open between 12 and 15 stores nationwide and stop. They’re committed to making the experience of shopping at Bark a special one.
And dogs are absolutely welcome inside.
“People ask, ‘Can I bring my dog?’ You know, because the shop’s pretty, but the dog comes first. You can come in with the dog,” Martin said.
Bark is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and offers free local delivery within city limits.