Calling all dogs of the UK (and their owners); as part of a multi-million-pound renovation of a former Debenhams department store in central Bournemouth, paws are afoot for the newly renovated Bobby & Co to host the world’s first food hall devoted entirely to dogs.
Featuring a cake shop, a “Lick ‘n’ Mix station”, and a doggy tuck shop, alongside a dog ball recycling centre (for the eco-conscious canine in your life), there is something to get every tail wagging.
This is the very first food hall to be created with dogs health & happiness front and centre, designed to give pups a cool respite from the summer heat and endless napping options.
The treats may look good enough to eat, but anyone tucking into them themselves will be in for a rude awakening as all treats are designed to delight the palate of our canine companions only unless of course, you have a taste for dried tripe.
Human’s aren’t entirely left out though – the hall will also offer people-appropriate refreshments, sold from a dog-shaped converted 2CV truck. Although of course, even this will offer the now-iconic puppicino.
All the stands in the hall will be hound-height – allowing dogs to shop for themselves and choose their own treats – with dedicated holes designed for sniffing, so they can be sure to choose their favourites.
All the treats have been taste-tested by a range of lucky pooches, with delicacies on offer including Fish & Chip Flavour Dog Treats, Seaside Theme Biscuits, “Cherry Barkwells”, Dog Doughnuts and even Liver Cakes – which will be freshly made each day. And for those of us who never got enough of the poop emoji – Doggy-Doo-Doo Cupcakes will also be on offer (but don’t worry, it’s just icing). DROOL is dedicated to supporting as many small businesses as possible and all treats have been carefully sourced from artisan dog bakeries from around the UK, including Millie & Ruby’s and baker Charlotte O’Toole of the iconic (human) bakery Bakeorama.
After a year of isolation, DROOL is set to offer some welcome socialising to dogs and owners alike within its grass-lined food hall walls, and the creators are hoping dogs from all over the country will make the pilgrimage (along with their designated human) to choose from the very special “Lick ‘n’ Mix” station where treats will include cheese stars, apple and mint bites, dried banana, and much-loved doggy fave, dried sardines. Offered by scoop sized, these will be served in the iconic brightly striped paper sweet bags. Seaside themed bags of treats, dog wine & beer, and dog peanut butter will also be available from the tuck shop for pooches to take home.
DROOL forms part of the grand reopening of the Bobby & Co department store – which has very recently announced plans to restore the building to its original 1933 splendour.
Verve Properties, an ethical property company, has been working to give the iconic Bobby & Co building a new lease of life and have been very deliberate in their quest to create a space to connect the Bournemouth community with local, ethical, and unique brands.
The pop-up is expected to last until September and the plans have been announced at a very opportune time, as the pandemic has seen a huge fur-baby boom. Recent surveys in the news have found that over three million households have acquired a pet since the beginning of lockdown. Over half of new owners are aged 16- 34 with 54% of Millennials apparently stating they’d rather cut back on spending on themselves than on their dog.
The project is the brainchild of Emma Thomas who under the nom de plume of the infamous Miss Cakehead has created curious cake-based goodies for everyone from Google to Fortnum and Mason, she also heads up “The Depressed Cake Shop” – a worldwide grass roots organization that is committed to creating community around the simple act of baking and selling grey coloured cakes.
Special charity days are also planned throughout the duration of the pop-up, such as the set to be truly iconic “Basset Hound ‘Agility’ Course” which will raise money for the breed’s rescue charity.