2014, Femal Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the NB Association of CBDCs
When asked about the philosophy behind her business, Heather MacLeod - owner and operator of The Barking Lot - will tell you that to her, “a dog or cat is not just an animal, but a member of the family”. Heathers passion for animals is evident by the framed pictures of her pets lining the walls of the establishment.
Described as “Fredericton’s Health Food Store for Pets”, The Barking Lot, located at the top of the Hanwell Road, Fredericton, provides customers with health-conscious foods, treats, toys, beds etc, for the furry companions in their lives. Heather’s focus is your pet’s health and well-being, only carrying foods that have been naturally preserved and contain no chemicals or by-products. There are also alternative diets such as raw, frozen food and pre-mixes for home-prepared diets for both dogs and cats.
Born in Fredericton, Heather graduated from UNB with a Bachelor’s degree in Education before embarking on an 18 year career in graphic design. When faced with a life-threatening illness, Heather was motivated to re-focus her life and career for something she had a passion for and something that she felt Fredericton needed. Thus the Barking Lot was created. She states that entrepreneurship just fell into her lap, however Heather had significant retail and managerial experience that was needed to operate her own venture.
Working closely with the Southwest CBDC, Heather gained the financing and advice needed to realize her passion; and found attending training sessions through the NB Association of CBDCs proved to be a rewarding experience. She also received financing through Business New Brunswick’s Entrepreneur Loan. Heather is also very grateful for having wonderful role models in her past career at Valley Graphics, who taught her leadership, the determination to build a business from the ground up, and the basics of entrepreneurship.
When asked, Heather says that the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur is being in charge and having the freedom to make your own decisions. However, Heather finds the administration aspect of a business to be the biggest challenge, as her focus is on pets, and their health and well-being.
Heather’s advice for an aspiring young entrepreneur is to make sure they have done their homework and that they know the market they are attempting to enter. She also advises that young entrepreneurs take advantage of the programs that are available such as the training she received from NB CBDC. Given Heather’s recent success, that advice is well taken!