FLEMINGTON, NJ – Barkley’s Marketplace, located at 79 Main Street, is a family-owned pet food and supplies store with a reputation for friendly service, expertise and an extensive selection of healthy pet food.
The store opened 10 years ago, in March 2011, and for the first nine years, store owner Andy Cohen was focused on his customers, his community and growing his business. When the pandemic hit, everything changed.
“Besides the health and safety fears in those early days, I was afraid of losing customers to large online retailers,” Cohen said. “At Barkley’s, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service and expertise. Suddenly, no one was coming into the store, and we had to quickly transition our business model. We focused on providing the same level of service through delivery and curbside pickup, even providing my personal cell number to clients for emergencies.”
A former business executive, Cohen knew that providing delivery was key to continued growth, and he had invested in two delivery vehicles a few years back.
“Delivery had been growing a little bit each month, then, all of sudden it was 30% of my business almost overnight,” he said.
“I am so grateful to my customers because they stayed with us all the way through this crazy year and recommended us to their friends,” Cohen added.
“Andy and (store manager) Michele are wonderful consultants making Barkley’s so much more than a pet store. When my dog Percy needed a change in his diet I called Andy. His knowledge and expertise are amazing, and he patiently answers every question,” explained long-time customer Stephanie Simmons. “This year, with the pandemic, the free delivery service is truly appreciated,” she added.
While changes were already in the works for Barkley’s, the pandemic accelerated everything. The sudden closing of all PetValu stores last year gave Barkley’s an opportunity to expand, an idea Cohen had been mulling over for a few years.
“After 10 years, I know there is a market for a brick and mortar pet shop with an emphasis on creating a community for pet owners, stocking healthy nutritious food, and providing friendly service and expertise,” he said.
Cohen recently signed a lease for a second store in Branchburg, New Jersey, the site of a former PetValu location. The store’s “soft open” was March 20, with an official “grand opening” in early May.
“I am thrilled to bring Barkley’s to Somerset County pet owners,” Cohen said.
The manager of PetValu, Dustin McCullough as well as several staff members have been hired to run Barkley’s Branchburg location.
“They are dedicated, experienced folks who love pets, and I am excited they are on the Barkley’s team,” Cohen added.
Another big change was the launch of Barkley’s new online store, barkleysmarketplace.com.
“Customers want to be able to shop online and support local businesses – our new website will help us to meet the needs of more customers,” Cohen explained.
Customers can order from the site for curbside pick up or local delivery. Delivery is free within a 10-mile radius of both stores with a $50 purchase.
Barkley’s Marketplace in Flemington is located at 79 Main Street, next to the historic Flemington Courthouse. It is currently open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. The Branchburg store is located at 3150 US-22, near ShopRite. The Branchburg store hours are: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Customers can shop online at barkleysmarketplace.com.