It's definitely not a dog's life for the pooches in and around Bellefonte anymore. Now, thanks to the vision of local businesswoman Carly Andriaccio, local canines have their own hangout to call home.
The Bone Bar and Boutique opened at 135 W. High St. just a few weeks ago, and according to the owner, business is picking up as people realize just what is being offered at her specialty store.
"I've always loved animals, particularly dogs," said Andriaccio, a New York transplant. "I've volunteered for several different animal organizations and have worked in kennels before. I've always wanted to own my own business, and when this opportunity came up, I had to take it."
The store features gourmet treats, Penn State toys and apparel, custom hand-knit sweaters, grain-free food and other toys and accessories. There is also a select number of items for our feline friends.
"Right now, we're mainly focused on dogs, but we do have some things for cats, too," Andriaccio said. "We had some people come in and ask about things for birds and fish, and although we don't have those kinds of things now, we're going to listen to our customers and try to bring in the things they want on our shelves."
The love of man's best friend has deep roots in the Andriaccio family.
While residing in Smithtown, N.Y., Andriaccio and her family volunteered for the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. Through the foundation, the family raised six puppies, five of which have gone on to become seeing-eye dogs, and the sixth became a breeder for the foundation, and continues to live with the Andriaccio family in Bellefonte.
Andriaccio volunteered at the foundation throughout high school, and held her first job there, caring for the dogs that were boarding at the kennel. She said she and her parents have also adopted puppies to give them a better life, their most recent one from PAWS a few years ago.
"I really owe a lot to my family for making this dream come true for me," Andriaccio said.
Andriaccio's parents, Tricia and Mike Andriaccio, were instrumental in the start-up of the Bone Bar and Boutique. They moved from their New York home in 2010 to become owners of Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast. After falling in love with the Victorian charm of Bellefonte, the couple purchased a historic West High Street property which once housed part of M&M Copy. After a variety of renovations, they were able to open the new business
"It's great to see Carly's dream turn into a reality," said Jen Riden, of the Penn State Small Business Development Center. "The location of Bone Bar and Boutique is so close to Talleyrand Park and the new waterfront project (and) it will be convenient for dog walkers to stop in for a treat."
Currently, the business is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Carly said she will continue to monitor store traffic and will establish a more permanent schedule in the future. She said looking ahead, she'd like to add a grooming service to the business, as well as possibly offer day care opportunities for pets.
A grand opening celebration is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, including a ribbon-cutting ceremony. There will be free dog treat samples, puppies available for adoption from PAWS and dog photos with Santa (a $1 donation will benefit PAWS). Andriaccio said a percentage of all sales during the event will be donated to the PAWS organization to help it continue to provide excellent care for its animals.
For more information, call (814) 424-7337.