Barker & Bone recently celebrated their first year in business, and owner Bev Gilhooley reflects on what a year it’s been.
If pets could design their very own pet shop, it would look exactly like Barker & Bone. This North Berwick pet store, beautifully curated with the discerning pet and pet-owner in mind, is celebrating its first year in business.
There has been a pet shop on North Berwick’s high street for over 36 years and last year when the former owners decided to retire, Bev Gilhooley who was ready to take on a new challenge, re-opened NB Pets as Barker & Bone. She, like all of us, had little idea of the challenges the world was about to face. Yet, despite the setback of a world-wide pandemic, Barker & Bone has managed to survive. The store remained open throughout lockdown for essential supplies. Bev says; “Although we remained open, there was hardly a soul on the high street. Yet we were kept busy with our regular deliveries, and this not only enabled us to keep our heads above water but ensured pet owners could provide for their beloved pets”. For many, there was the struggle of loneliness throughout lockdown. And the appreciation of a four-legged friend or a love of nature helped many through. “I delivered supplies to people on their own and many said ‘I don’t know what I would have done without my pet’, explains Bev, “What’s more, I don’t think I’ll ever sell as much bird seed ever again!”
Looking back over the past year, the team at Barker & Bone all agree that the highlight has been getting to know the dogs and their owners so well. Bev says; The stories we could tell, we could write a book! Happy and sad stories, but all reiterating the deep relationships we have with our beloved four-legged friends. More than just a pet, they are a huge part of our lives. They are companions. They bring families together. They keep us fit and active. They know how to cheer us up and lighten the mood. As one recently widowed customer said to me ‘the NHS should hand out puppies to the bereft’. She has a good point there!”
To celebrate their first birthday and to thank all their customers, Barker & Bone spent the day giving out party bag gifts and prizes. Local pet photographer Jack Rowberry of Equine & Hound was in store to take photos (with permission!) of any visiting dogs. Bev says; “We were blown away with the photos. The shop was full of dogs who were far too busy getting excited with all the lovely smells. At times I wondered how Jack was actually getting any photos at all. I needn’t have worried – the photos speak for themselves, they’re absolutely beautiful and captured their characters so well.”
For the team at Barker & Bone, as with all of us, the next year is an unknown. But rest assured, Barker & Bone will continue to add new lines and improve choices through their growing knowledge, gained from their time in business and customer feedback. They’re also planning to keep the seven-days-a-week free local delivery service going. Bev adds; “It doesn’t matter if it’s a bulk bag of food a few doors away or a cat collar to Gullane, we are out and about every evening and happy to bring supplies to our customers. And most of all, thank you to all our customers for continuing to support small local high street businesses.”
BARKER & BONE
47 High St, North Berwick EH39 4HH