Bark Ave reminds us to support local, even for our pets

Like many businesses in Pennsylvania, Bark Avenue have had to learn to shift to the constant changes in state policy to be able to thrive.

Like many businesses in Pennsylvania, Bark Avenue have had to learn to shift to the constant changes in state policy to be able to thrive.

March 12th, 2020. A day that will live on in infamy as the country shut down, followed by tens of thousands of jobs being lost and businesses being closed. Those businesses that were left had to either adapt or face the same fate as the others. Bark Ave chose to adapt to their new situation and excelled.     

Blaine and Tiffany Spier opened their store in 2007 in Harleysville.

“It all stemmed from when we were kids,” Tiffany said. “My parents always let me go into the pet stores, and that’s what started my passion for owning one.”   

When Covid hit, they were spared from unemployment because they were considered essential workers. 

“Think of your pet as your child. You would want to provide for them as if they were your child,” Blaine said. 

With that, they were confined to the same restrictions as all the other businesses around them, such as limited capacity. When the pandemic initially started, they were worried about their biggest rivals, including mainstream companies like and Pet Valu. Bark Ave is no stranger to competition attempting to gain new customers from them, but Bark Ave quickly realized this would not be the case in the short term even due to the limitations in place during Covid. March 12th was like a light switch that turned on and Blaine and Tiffany quickly became bombarded with phone calls and had to learn how to adapt to curbside pickups.

But three things happened that made their pet store rise. One of the things Bark Ave discovered was that had fallen behind on their deliveries. Chewy went from 1 – 3 day shipping to 7 – 10 day shipping. This caused people to look elsewhere for their pet supplies, and that left at least two options:  Bark Ave or Pet Valu (or any other brick and mortar store that sells pet food, including grocery stores).  That wouldn’t be an issue for long as it was recently announced that Pet Valu is closing all of their 358 stores and warehouses in the US. It almost seemed like the stars were aligned for Bark Ave to have things fall into place and they were so grateful.     

The second reason Bark Ave was able to gain more business during Covid was directly related to the number of animals (small animals, dogs, and cats) that individuals and families purchased or rescued during their time in quarantine. Around the country, there was a spike of people adopting and fostering animals, around 60 – 70% in some areas. Those numbers were relevant in our area as well. Bark Ave received an influx of new, and even some old, customers.

The last and most notable reason is the addition of their online store.  According to Tiffany, it took months to make the site. Sometimes, she had to stay up until 2 -3 am working on it. And it paid off. 

“The overwhelming amount of calls we were receiving went down drastically,” Tiffany said. “That took a lot of the stress away.”

Bark Ave offers delivery within a 5-mile radius and still does curbside pickup. Not to mention, they are extremely responsible with how they have been inside of their store, with wiping down everything and putting up plexiglass shields at the register. The adaptations that Bark Ave had to implement to stay afloat are now a permanent part of their current business which is thriving.     

For more information, check out their website: