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Bella’s Barkery – a one-stop shop to spoil your dog

 

SALISBURY – For Jean Helms, the owner of Bella’s Barkery, her store’s opening is a dream fulfilled.

“I’ve wanted to have a dog bakery for a few years now. I’m a nurse, and that’s what I’ve done for the last probably 20 years or more, and I’m just addicted to dogs. I help with dog rescues and have four dogs of my own, so this was something that was really fun for me. It was a change,” Helms said.

Helms said the inspiration for her store’s name came from her 12-year-old German shepherd, Bella, and a comment from one of her sons.

“(Bella) is very special to us. We know she won’t be around a whole lot longer, so we thought Bella’s Barkery would be for her,” Helms said. “And I told my son, he’s almost 20, I said, ‘I’m going to open a dog bakery.’ And he laughed and he said, ‘Do you mean a barkery?’ And it stuck.”

Helms, a resident of China Grove, said she often bakes for her family, so the transition to making dog treats was not a difficult one.

But she said it took about a month of practice to fine-tune her recipes.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be a challenge; it was just putting the recipes together. And once I realized what consistency things needed to be to turn into something a dog would enjoy, then I was able to kind of tweak things and make recipes my own,” Helms said. “So I have things that are my top-secret recipes now.”

Helms said that for now, she has to bake all the treats at home. But she is in the process of getting a kitchen installed in the back of the store, located at 203 S. Main St. in Salisbury.

“It’s not as strict as a restaurant for humans, but we’re still required to have a grease trap and things like that, so we’re working on that,” Helms said.

She said the store’s first month has been so successful that she’s had to hire a second person.

“It’s been really good. It’s been better than I expected. I’ve actually had to hire a girl to come and work the store on Wednesdays so I have a day midweek where I can be at home baking to get prepared for the weekend. Everything’s fresh, and we don’t use preservatives. So we have to keep baking fresh all the time just like you would for a people bakery,” Helms said.

Some of Helms’ most popular treat flavors include bacon cheddar, dehydrated sweet potato and peanut butter-oat.

Helms said the store does more than just sell dog treats. In addition to selling grooming tools, T-shirts and dog toys, the store serves as an occasional adoption center.

The first adoption event at the store will be held July 22 in partnership with the Cabarrus Pet Society.

Helms is not yet sure how many dogs will be there or what the hours will be, but she said she hopes that some of the dogs will find their forever homes with the help of her bakery.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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