The puppy tail wags were nearly audible on our call with Mandra Ryan, owner and executive pastry chef at Three Dog Bakery in Denver. Officially, she shares her home with just one dog, Bella, but describes herself as the ultimate dog sitter. The puppy sounds were coming from her brother’s border collie mix puppy, who was lamenting his time inside after a recent “event” with one of Mandra’s backyard chickens. Don’t worry, everyone is ok.
And all this before a busy business day at work in Denver’s Lower Highlands (LoHi to locals), where Three Dog Bakery has become a popular stop for dog owners to treat their pups. But there’s more to it. Over the course of 2020, which happened to be Mandra’s first full year in business after opening in June 2019, the shop became an important, joyful element of many neighbors’ safer-at-home and WFH routines.
Serendipitously, that’s where the joy lies for Mandra, too. Her favorite part of owning and operating the business is being part of a community, where she and her team are on a first-name basis with most (if not all) customers. They also know the dogs’ allergies, unique tastes and preferences for treats, everyday foods, and toys, all of which are available in the neighborhood pet supply store. Plus bones, chews, a self-service dog wash and spa goodies, even ice creams!
Through it all, Mandra partners with other small business owners, making space available in her shop to sell their handmade collars, unique doggie bandanas, and other items. Because, while Three Dog Bakery is a franchise, it’s up to individual franchise owners to make the stores their own and reflect the community they serve.
For Mandra, it means providing very personalized services, offering something for every dog, and contributing to a community of residents and other business owners. And although the past year was not without its challenges, Mandra kept her doors open, her team safe and employed, and her customers safe and happy.
From March 2020 to March 2021, she and the team made almost 2,500 personalized birthday cakes from scratch. They also celebrated Bella’s birthday with Bellapalooza in August; helped organize and participated in Growloween, a neighborhood costume party and trick-or-treat event for dogs and humans alike, in partnership with other local businesses; and provided take-home kits for customers to mark holidays and other special occasions with their pups.
Through it all, Mandra and the team are thankful to still be in business, creating joyful experiences for people and their dogs. She’s thoughtfully plotting out how to mark the two-year opening anniversary in June, while also positioning the team and the shop for future growth. And she hopes to see the small acts of kindness (like customers buying a barker’s dozen of treats to share among neighborhood dogs just because) continue in 2021 and beyond.
Speaking of, we want to thank Three Dog Bakery again for providing our team with 50 dog biscuit-decorating kits for our April edition of VJ Gathers, our new-in-2021 social and service event series. It’s been a dog-focused, and particularly rescue dog-focused, month for our team. We’ll be sharing a new video for National Mill Dog Rescue and photos from our dog biscuit-decorating contest winners (and maybe some of the best flubs) soon! Stay tuned.
Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.