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Kristina Robertson / Barkley Square & Karing by Kristina

Posted on Jul 21,2008
Filed Under Local Leaders , Community,

Kristina Robertson / Barkley Square & Karing by Kristina
1 Wales Alley
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 519-7565

(New location):
2006 Mt Vernon Ave.
Alexandria VA 22301

About Kristina:
Kristina came to her calling in a roundabout way. She credits her epiphany to her two dogs, which were her source of strength through a difficult time. “I decided after that to become a vet, to help those who had helped me.” During her studies for veterinary school, she worked at a vet and became disillusioned by the boarding practices of the time. “Pets were stacked up in small cages in a small room – I didn’t think it was a very comforting place for the animals or their owners. I left veterinary school and started working as a manager at a local Safeway. After a while, I got to know my clients pretty well and started sitting for some of their pets. The word got around, and soon my “side business” consumed all of my free time. It finally got big enough for me to take a risk and turn it into a full-time job.” Kristina founded Karing by Kristina in 1991.

About KbK and Barkley Square:
Karing by Kristina is celebrating its 16th anniversary this month. KbK is “an established in-home professional pet care service catering to the specific needs of both owners and their pets”. Whether it’s a two-hour dog walk, or a 2 week house sitting, Kbk has the staff for you. Kristina adds, “Our pet care professionals are licensed and bonded. Some are in vet school, and all get regular training from veterinarians who educate and instruct in the latest in First Aid practices.”

Barkley Square is a pet boutique and bakery that sells unique, high quality gifts and furnishings for dogs and cats. The bakery carries homemade, all natural and organic pet treats that are baked locally. Barkley Square’s second location has just opened in Del Ray (2006 Mt. Vernon Ave.), and has a chiropractor and a veterinarian (by appointment only, but also does house-calls). This location will be able to bake treats on-site.

If you walk into Barkley Square, you’re sure to be greeted first by Cocoa. “Cocoa (pictured with Kristina) is the owner and CEO of Barkley Square.” Kristina adds, “He has an account at the bank, but mostly he works for treats.” He’s also been known to sport some pretty snazzy clothes at various soirees in and around Old Town.

Business Philosophy:
“Our motto is, “We step in when you step out”. We provide our clients the ability to leave home and not have to worry about their loved ones.  The “Karing” in our title is what we’re about. We’re very detail-oriented. We’re putting a suggestion box in the Del Ray location to find out what our neighbors here would like us to offer.”

Why did you choose to do this?
“Both businesses chose me.” (Why & how Kristina started Kbk is mentioned above.) “Barkley Square basically fell into my lap. The owners were going to close the business, and the animal shelter called and told me about it. It was a direction I wanted to explore, so I took over the lease and bought their remaining supplies and the rest is history.”

Why Alexandria?
“I moved here with my husband 3 years ago. I didn’t realize how dog-friendly the area was! I couldn’t have a better place to work. I love the smaller communities like Del Ray and Old Town, where personal service is greatly appreciated.

Funny/Interesting Story?
“We hosted our first doggie wedding the other day!

It was, I believe, an “arranged” marriage. The bridesmaid’s dresses were all custom-made, while groomsmen sported bowties. The groom had on a beautiful tuxedo, and the bride was resplendent in tiara and veil. Cake was served at the reception.”

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