Podcast Episode 127: How To Make Pet Care More Inclusive with Melissa Mitchner of The Bark Shoppe

In this episode, I’m talking to Melissa Mitchner who is the founder of the Harlem based grooming and pet care facility The Bark Shoppe. Melissa has such an inspiring story about launching her business in just 90 days using just her personal savings. Since the day she started, community engagement and customer service have been extremely important. I love how outgoing and scrappy she was about getting the word out about her business in the first few years. After hearing her stories, I think you’ll be inspired to get out there and tell everyone you can find about your business. Melissa is also an amazing advocate for inclusion and diversity. She works with many programs that empower young people to avoid involvement in the criminal justice system through career training and education.

Melissa told me that it’s important to her to speak out about her experience as a business owner in the pet industry because she can inspire people who didn’t even know this career path was an option for them.

Creating a space for diversity and inclusion in underserved communities

Melissa Mitchner is the CEO and founder of The Bark Shoppe, located in Harlem, NY. She has over a decade of experience in business management and expansion. Prior to entering the pet care industry she worked for Best Buy, one of the largest retail companies in the nation and was responsible for hiring over 6,000 people. Since starting The Bark Shoppe, her business has been named one of the top Pet Grooming Salons in New York City, been featured on Fox Business, Good Morning America and various other media outlets. Melissa is passionate about creating a space for diversity and inclusion in underserved communities. She’s a founding member of the non-profit Take Care of Harlem and also serves on the Jr. Board of The Food Bank of New York City.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • Melissa’s inspiration for opening The Bark Shoppe
  • What The Bark Shoppe was like when it first opened
  • How Melissa used guerrilla marketing to grow her business
  • Fighting through the critics and naysayers
  • How to make your business more inclusive
  • Tips for hiring and firing employees

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Where to Find Melissa:



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  1. Asha Olivia

    I love how Melissa’s faith in humanity was restored through pet care! So many of us in this industry feel the same way! Thank you for an awesome podcast!

    • Tori

      Yes! It’s so true! Thank you for listening!


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