There’s something special happening in Kansas City’s Berkley Riverfront Park. Bar K Dog Bar, which opened last August, is revitalizing the area by serving a unique intersection of consumer interests. The primary attraction is a “state of the art” dog park overseen by dog-care professionals, which draws dog owners from across the metropolitan area. But what separates Bar K from other dog parks is the inclusion of a restaurant, bar, and coffee shop where customers can relax and connect while their pups play nearby.
Bar K Dog Bar
This multifaceted space, constructed from recycled shipping containers, unites diverse interests under one roof. It’s a first for Kansas City and a model for businesses across the country. The brand’s ability to foster community and serve multiple aspects of their customer’s needs won it the 2019 Capstone Award for retail space. At a time when it is increasingly difficult for retailers to draw crowds to brick-and-mortar spaces, Bar K is beating the odds.
Shared interests converge at Bar K. Dog owners, dog lovers, and their friends can now share an exciting space that provides a stimulating experience for people and their pets. As the Kansas City Business Journal notes, Bar K “offers the pets’ owners as much potential fun as it does the dogs.” Co-owners Lieb Dodell and David Hensley were inspired to create the space when they realized that the lack of amenities at traditional dog parks made them a chore for humans and didn’t encourage connection.
At Bar K, the ability to relax with a beverage or a “healthy casual” meal (or to get some work done over Wifi) while your pup plays keeps human patrons coming back for more. United by their love for dogs, customers always have something to talk about while they watch their pets frolic together. The addition of an outdoor stage for concerts or speakers adds another point of interest and makes Bar K a perfect, pet-friendly event space as well.
Bar K’s owners and investors needed a very unique location to fit their unique approach. Ultimately, they chose Berkley Riverfront Park because it was “an under-used site that could be transformed into a community asset.” The park, located near downtown but not yet part of the area’s redevelopment initiative, required significant investment but has become a safer and more vibrant part of the neighborhood as a result.
As Bar K eyes expansion plans for the future, creating community and helping underused areas become vital parts of the urban experience remain a priority. The owners believe that “Bar K could be a catalyst for neighborhoods and bring more interest in development to these locations.” This smart strategy has already proved itself in Kansas City, and may soon extend to other locations in the Midwest.
Bar K is one of several businesses in Kansas City using the intersection of varied consumer interests to build a community of patrons who are invested in their brand’s success. By embracing an “experiential retail” model that serves many needs at once, it has quickly become a hot spot for a diverse cross-section of dog lovers who want a social experience. We’re excited to see what the future holds for Bar K and the other multifaceted spaces that are revitalizing retail.