Anderson native Clay Martin and John Frampton originally started an online boutique but knew they wanted an actual brick and mortar store to create a touch and feel experience for canines and their owners.
“We were a luxury retail for the last 30 years with companies like Giorgio Armani, Neiman Marcus and Barney’s of New York”, says Martin. “Our love for our dogs just made sense to create a human canine boutique based on our fashion point of view.”
Their inspiration grew because they didn’t really see anyone in the industry with a canine boutique. “Most stores were and are pet supply type stores,” Martin says. “There are a few small shops in the UK and a few in California but they do not offer a food option other than treats,” he says. So the concept of the boutique came from the fashion world and their approach to boutiques. “It’s a human approach to a canine world,” says Martin.
Martin and Frampton have created an environment that humans and canine alike want to experience, it’s more than just shopping. The eye catching but purposeful boutique has a relaxed elegance that everyone can relate to at some level. “This particular store was greatly inspired by the style of John Varvatos, who has used the concept in many of his stores,” says Martin. Brick, metal, rugs and vintage with bold splashes of contemporary and modern twists are the elements make up this one of a kind shop.
Currently the boutique offers collars, beds and toys from all over the world. Some are from Germany, the UK and Moroccan villages where they produce vintage rug mattresses. “We are also very focused on raw food diet for canines,” Martin says. “All of our food is human quality and we offer some of the finest raw products in the country.”
As for the future, Martin says they plan to open a “Bark Beauty Bar” downstairs in the spring of 2019. “It will have a lounge vibe and will welcome walk-ins just like a styling salon,” he says. There will be full grooming services on the menu.
Martin, who grew up in Williamston, left after high school and moved to Tulsa, OK to attend Oral Roberts University. His family has been in the Carolinas for over 400 years. “I have lots of relatives here,” says Martin.
When not at the boutique, Martin enjoys art. “My passion is art. I’m a painter and will always display some of my paintings in the stores,” he says. He also has a background in music, piano and voice.
“I live for one thing and that’s to learn to love unconditionally,” Martin says. “If I can spend my life learning to do that then I feel I have learned what I was sent here to do and hopefully I have touched lives along the way,” he says.
“I think Anderson is ready for me to share the world I have seen and been a part of during my career. The reason we decided to make this commitment in Anderson is there is an undercurrent of excitement that I have not seen or felt here until recently. This is the perfect city model to be a lovely Mecca for art and music. I believe this is Anderson’s moment and we’re glad we’re here.”
Welcome Clay and John, Otis and Jasper!
Bark is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from Noon to 5 PM. They offer free local delivery within city limits.