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Meet Victoria Downie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria Downie.

Victoria, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Barking Spot started as a dream five years ago. It was just an idea that we had where we wanted to find a way to build a community based around dogs. We are big dog lovers in our family. At the end of 2019 my husband talked me into taking a leap of faith and going for it. With a lot of support, hard work and dedication we officially opened in January 2020 as a boutique dog daycare focusing on small to medium size dogs. We had a small boutique in the front and offered daycare and training in the main area. Of course we were very slow at first since we were just starting to make a name for ourselves. My husband works full time from home and would help with our kids while I would open and close the store daily. By March 2020, we had customers, staff and were finally getting on our feet. Shortly after, COVID hit hard and unfortunately, we lost 95% of our clientele. The other 5% still needed daycare/boarding with their dogs, so we continued to watch them out of our home.

As the months went by, we started to get quite a few calls a week regarding grooming. I have never groomed a dog in my life but regardless of my lack of experience, we listened to the needs of our community and adapted. We purchased everything we needed to offer dog grooming and with the help of our network, we found a groomer. In June 2020, we officially became a Boutique Grooming Salon. It was a slow start and it took time to build our clientele. We are happy to say that we now have a fully stocked boutique and have three stylist stations. We have two amazing ladies, Samantha and Jeannette, who have extensive grooming experience, our amazing bather and photographer Lena and our manager Jessica, who now holds down the fort on a day-to-day basis. My mom has been the heart of our boutique, where you can find the cutest small business brands. We really have the dream team here at Barking Spot.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I wish I could say it was easy… it was everything BUT that. The first year for businesses is hard as is but throw in a world pandemic and every business in sight closing, you could say it was a recipe for disaster. Every other day I was crying, asking my husband if we should just shut our doors. I felt defeated. I felt like I didn’t stand a chance. It didn’t make sense for us to continue but we knew we were called to do this business. Our faith has played a huge role in our success. We did what we knew how to do… we prayed, we showed up and we worked hard. Luckily we made it through our first year!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
We pride ourselves in standing out from your typical grooming salon. We create an experience for your dog, we take our time and we cater to their needs. We really embrace them as our own. We treat each dog as an individual whose needs are unique. Each dog receives a spa bath, massage and blueberry facial, along with a list of other services we offer.

We do our best to provide a stress-free environment by providing pet-safe essential oils, dog-friendly tv, soothing music and the option to have two groomers. One to groom and one to love your dog and help them feel as safe and comfortable as possible. We take it seriously when a dog is nervous or stressed and only go as far as the dog feels comfortable. When you are booking your dog for an appointment, you can expect to have your pampered pup back to you in about two hours. We offer farmhouse-style kennels or the option to play and run around while waiting for their appointment. Booking with us is not just receiving service but really indulging in an experience. I promise your pup will be begging to come back!

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
We have plans in the very near future to introduce our own Barking Spot brand of products. We are also currently looking at expanding within our community but also within the US. We have our eyes set on another state where we would love to see a Barking Spot location. Stay tuned!

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Vianca de la parra

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