Susan, would you tell us what Bone Appetit is and your role in the business?
Bone Appetit began business in Nashville in 1997 as one of the first stores in the U.S. to specialize in premium, human-grade, all-natural dog treats. I have been its owner since the beginning. We offer over twenty flavors of bulk dog treats, including grain free. Our ‘gourmet’ hand-iced, bakery treats are always a customer favorite for special dog occasions and Holidays. We also carry cat treats (including grain free), the most durable dog toys currently on the market, leashes, collars and harnesses by Lupine (guaranteed for any reason even if chewed!), and a fun selection of dog themed mugs, t-shirts, magnets, and door mats.
My husband and I currently have a 9 year old yellow lab named Colby. We adopted her four years ago (as well as all of our labs over the past years) from lab rescue groups in Indiana - Love of Labs Indiana (LOLIN.org) and Central Indiana Lab Rescue (CILRA.org). I am in awe of the job that these organizations, including the Brown County Humane Society, do to save animals and find forever homes for them! We encourage adoption, and do what we can to support the BCHS and other Indiana rescue groups.
The Chocolate Walk benefits pets that they help find new homes so it seems like a great fit for Bone Appetit. How did you first get involved as one of the stops on the walk?
It is a great fit, and we jumped at the chance to participate as soon as we were notified by BCHS of this great fundraiser. What could be better? Saving animals and chocolate!
We were part of the very first Chocolate Walk as host for a chocolatier. We have participated every year since, more recently providing our own ‘treats’ as a (sort of) ‘chocolatier’. Can’t believe it has been eight years!!
Many businesses seem to try out the Chocolate Walk for a year or two then stop being a stop. What keeps you involved? Isn't it a lot of work to prepare for the event and then staff it?
If you want to talk about a lot of work to prepare, we need to mention the BCHS Chocolate Walk volunteers who start in January of every year to make this event happen!! They’re the real heros! Just hosting a chocolatier doesn’t require that much work because volunteers who staff the table and hand-out the chocolate treats are provided by BCHS.
About four years ago, we started providing dog treats containing carob (doggie safe chocolate). That’s a bit more of an investment and more work to package everything, but it is well worth the efforts. It gives us an opportunity to introduce our treats to lots of dog owners. Our sales on the day of Chocolate Walk have gone up every year, and we hear over and over from people who didn’t know about our store until Chocolate Walk. And what a fun crowd!
The treats we provide at Chocolate Walk are softer textured Peanut Butter & Carob Chip. They are one of our popular standard flavors, made for us in Illinois by a supplier that is USDA inspected and part of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). They have provided us with all-natural bulk treats for nearly twenty years.
Becca Sparks-Lowry and I make several of our hand-iced bakery selections, but our demand is such that we can’t provide the quantities we need. We use a number of suppliers for our bakery treats, all of them in the U.S.
If there was one thing you could change about The Chocolate Walk, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything about the Chocolate Walk. It brings 1200+ people to Nashville in early November – not typically a boom time in town. Attendees are traversing the entire town, north to south, east to west, to pick-up their chocolate samples, so it exposes people to parts of Nashville they may not have ever seen. Our sales are way up on that day, and I’m sure we have repeat business from those who find us for the first time at Chocolate Walk. The people who attend Chocolate Walk are a fun group, and we enjoy talking with them. The weather has cooperated EVERY year, which is amazing for November. And, most importantly, we are helping BCHS to help the animals who need us.
|S'mores Mini Dog Treats|
Although I do eat (and love) white chocolate, I am allergic to chocolate, so I join the dogs in eating carob as my ‘chocolate’ of choice. For those who don’t know, carob is a chocolate substitute that is made from a South American evergreen. It looks like, cooks like, tastes like chocolate, and has many vitamins and minerals. It’s used in human health foods, and, is dog safe.
FInally, is there anything you'd like our readers to know about your business that we haven't asked about?
In addition to our store in Nashville, we ship a lot of treats! Customers who buy something to take home to their dog soon discover their dog is very impressed! So, they order more on our website www.barkingood.com . We also have another location with similar offerings on Main Street in Brownsburg, Indiana.
We provide some really nice discounts (wholesale pricing) on bulk purchases for non-profit organizations who are interested in re-selling our treats as a fundraiser.
There are many things I like about having a store like Bone Appetit, but I have to say that our customers are at the top of that list. They love and care for their pets, and they are great to us. Thanks for this opportunity to promote the Chocolate Walk and Bone Appetit. And buy your ticket early! They sell out every year.
Thank you, Susan, and thank you to Bone Appetit. Check them out when you go on The Chocolate Walk. Remember to get your tickets soon. And if you want to walk with The Chocolate Cult, leave a comment and let me know. If you have a question for Susan about her store, please a comment as well for her to see.