FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County’s one and only Woof Gang Bakery is one of the company’s most successful franchises.
The Woof Gang Bakery at 1960 East-West Parkway on Fleming Island was recently named one of the most successful franchises for its sales in 2019. The store also joined the “Millionaire Club” in doing so, meaning the store made $1 million or more in gross sales last year.
The success of the company shows as it recently expanded its storefront to more than double its size.
“Mary and Pete [Hardin] have built a strong local presence to engage with their neighbors and customers,” Woof Gang Bakery corporate office representative Cara Allen said. “To better serve the needs of the Clay County community, they have modified operations by implementing curbside service for retail and grooming, and have introduced free, same-day home delivery in Fleming Island.”
Mary Hardin said it meant a lot to be named one of the most successful Woof Gang Bakery franchises in the nationwide company. It’s an indication to her that her hard work, passion and risks have paid off and her dreams have become a reality. Hardin opened the store in 2016 after growing tired of her 9-to-5 banking job.
She told her husband one day that she was ready for something new, something more dog-friendly. After looking around at her options, she decided on Woof Gang Bakery.
That was in September of 2016 and right off the bat, the store was a success.
“Clay County is a dog county and that really shows,” Hardin said.
It was important to Hardin the store be an extension of Hardin, who owns five dogs, and her passion for dogs. That’s why dogs are allowed in the store, to preview the toys and treats their dog mom and dads might be buying them. It’s also why famed store boss, Kona the Shih Tzu, walks around the store to greet pet owners and pets alike.
Kona smells them first, then sits and gives them that “please pet me” look before the shopping can happen. Some dogs enter the store for a trip to Woof Gang’s grooming department, others to pick out some fresh-baked treats from the store’s new bakery. The grooming department was expanded when the new bakery was installed.
Hardin said the business next door closed in December. In January, Woof Gang had taken over the space. After a few months of work, it became an official part of the store making more room for showers and grooming stations, a new kitchen for fresh-baked treats and additional space to sell items like toys, leashes and dog treats.
The original store was about 1,200 square feet and now the newly-expanded grooming department itself is 1,200 square feet. Hardin said it's the customers of Woof Gang and the people of Clay County that have allowed her business to be successful enough to not only still be around but expand into an larger space. While she’s excited to relax some now that the newly-opened space has been integrated into the store, her next goals include opening another Woof Gang store somewhere else in Clay County.
“There’s a real passion for dogs here in Clay County,” Hardin said. “We want to bring what we offer to other parts of the county and maybe even beyond.”
View the article on ClayTodayOnline.com here