Ben and Dawn Ford have the unusual challenge of communicating with their clientele – their customers are primarily dogs.
“Luckily, the owners do the ordering for them,” says co-owner Ben. The Fords, BECU business members and dog lovers, are in their third year of operating The Barkery, a doggie food truck business. The couple has made it into a true partnership: Ben does the driving, while Dawn perfects recipes and bakes. The mobile business motors as far north as Marysville and as far south as Des Moines. They also make stops in Kirkland, Bellevue and even Redmond.
“Finding the right spot to have it permanently located is key,” explains Ben. “Our truck is from 1968, and has run into quite a bit of engine problems – the BECU credit card helped us out! It's scary when your business is mobile, on wheels, relying on it every day, and it goes into the shop for a couple of weeks.” The Fords realized they needed a land-based operation, and recently expanded into a dog-park stand. The permanent location at the Dogwood dog park in Lake City includes a commercial kitchen, perfect for treat making.
As an added bonus, those treats are a hit no matter where they park. The Barkery is the rare vendor that gets along with everyone. “Since we're not really competing against each other, we have a great relationship with other food trucks,” says Ben. “It's a win-win: People are often on a walk with their dogs to get lunch or dinner, or vice versa.”
The next time you see The Barkery, know also that your funds help dogs, too: proceeds from every sale go to Old Dog Haven, an organization based in Lake Stevens. Old Dog Haven not only helps find homes for older dogs, but assists with the costly medical bills that elderly dogs can rack up. “It's such a great organization,” says Ben; “we felt like that was a great way to give back.”
Find @TheBarkery's next stop by visiting them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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