Downtown Detroit’s first pet boutique City Bark opens

The pet shop moved into Capitol Park Friday, welcoming two and four-legged customers

Stephanie Steinberg
The Detroit News

It’s rare to see so many four-legged creatures attending a grand opening in downtown Detroit.

City Bark on Griswold in Capitol Park opened Friday morning, welcoming customers and their furry friends with free dog-friendly popcorn and treats. The pet supply boutique moved from its original location in Grosse Pointe to cater to a growing number of downtown residents with pets.

Jessi McCabe, 36, shops with her dog Inche at City Bark in downtown Detroit.

“Detroit is growing by the day, and so is Capitol Park, so it seemed like a really good opportunity to move down here and reach a different market,” says owner Jamie Judson, 27.

The store carries 15 types of dog and cat food, litter, a colorful array of leashes, collars, toys and specialty items like Bowser Beer Beefy Brown Ale, a nonalcoholic beer for dogs (Judson compares it to chicken broth that can be poured over dog food). One of her favorite items is all-natural Michigan-shaped dog-friendly cookies made in Traverse City. The label says it’s a “droolicious” recipe.

Gabi Hejka, 24, lives in The Albert apartment building next door and stopped in with her 2-year-old boxer, Luna.

“How cool is this?” she says, standing in front of a wall of leashes. She takes off a blue leash stamped with “Detroit” in red and the names of city streets. “This is great; it’s extra strong,” she says, trying it on around Luna’s white neck.

Hejka says she normally orders pet supplies from Amazon Prime because there’s no other pet shop in walking distance and the selection at CVS/Pharmacy isn’t the “best quality.” While she has a car to make trips, she parks across the street, which is cumbersome when carrying big bags of dog food.

“This is super convenient, and I’m super happy about it,” she says.

'Wilbee Daniels' a 150-pound Leonberger breed meets a new friend, a beagle named 'Grace' while hanging out at City Bark's grand opening in downtown Detroit along with Wilbee's owner Victoria DeMay of Farmington.

Toward the back of the 1,225 square-foot shop, lighted by chandeliers, Michael Christie was throwing his 2-year-old beagle, Grace, some puppy popcorn. The 43-year-old photographer is moving to Midtown in April and says he plans to use the store’s delivery service. If products are in stock, City Bark will deliver online orders within 24 hours, or when the customer specifies.

“It’s nice to be able to support a local (pet shop) business like this, which there aren’t that many,” Christie says.

Jessi McCabe, 36, a box office administrator for the Detroit Tigers has lived downtown the past 10 years. She’s frequented the other area pet shops — Cass Corridog in Midtown and 3 Dogs 1 Cat in Eastern Market — but is excited a pet shop is opening close to where she and her whippet named Inche live downtown.

“I love any kind of pet store like this. I buy a lot of toys for him,” she admits, holding the leash of her beige and white dog that resembles a greyhound. “It’s really nice to have a place that’s right around the corner.”

Meanwhile, Victoria DeMay, 65, drove from Farmington with her 2-year-old Leonberger, Wilby Daniels, (named after Tom Kirk’s character in Disney’s “The Shaggy Dog”) to check out the shop.

City Bark pet store owner Jamie Judson and her dog Carter, the store's unofficial mascot. Judson, 27, of Grosse Pointe Park, relocated the store from Grosse Pointe City to downtown Detroit.

Hard to go unnoticed at 150 pounds, Wilby enjoyed the attention as City Bark manager Pam Smith tossed him treats. Another customer came by asking to pet him and inquiring if he’s “friendly.”

“No, he ate two children on the way here,” DeMay jokes. “That’s why he’s being good with you.”

Judson — who owns the 8-year-old German Shepard husky wandering the store, greeting fellow four-legged friends — says shes thrilled to see the community’s excitement. Within an hour and a half of opening, dozens of customers had ambled in with their dogs.

“It’s better than we expected,” she says, as more four-legged customers pulling their two-legged masters walked in the door.

City Bark will be open until 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Regular hours will be set soon. Visit or call 313-881-2275 for more information.

(313) 222-2156

Twitter: @Steph_Steinberg