The Bark Place celebrates 10 years

The Bark Place has been grooming dogs — and some cats — for 10 years.

Owners Sherma and Butch Elliott opened The Bark Place in January 2008 in The Farragut Center, 11410 Kingston Pike.

“We started out in [a shop] in the breezeway over there from 2008 to 2010,” Sherma Elliott said. “Then, in 2010, we moved to this location [behind the shopping center] because of growth, and we’ve remained here since 2010.

“Farragut has been very good to us,” she added. “I think our success has been attributed to the standards that we hold, the quality of grooming that we put out of the door, the way the shop appears and the care that we give to not only the dogs — which is most important — but also to our clients. [The Bark Place is] a very friendly, welcoming atmosphere.”

The Bark Place grooms all types of dog breeds, Sherma Elliott said. It will do anything from simple toenail and face trims to bathing to full grooming, which includes haircuts and makeovers — “anything the customer requests.

“We will [groom] cats by assessment only, to see what type of activity and what type of behavior they have,” she added.

Along with customers in Farragut and West Knoxville, The Bark Place also draws customers from areas such as Lenoir City — and even out of state.

“The lady who will be here shortly to

pick up her poodle moved here from Atlanta,” Sherma Elliott said. “I have a customer who comes from Nashville.”

Out-of-town customers often have family ties in Farragut or West Knoxville, she said.

Sherma Elliott was a registered nurse when she entered the grooming business with her husband. She was taking her dogs to a grooming shop that was going out of business.

“They were our groomers,” she recalled. “I decided to take on a business opportunity — to open a groom shop.”

A registered nurse since 1981, Sherma Elliott worked for St. Mary’s Hospital from 1985 to 2012. While still a nurse, she also took on the grooming business, going to grooming school.

“Having a grooming business and being more of a manager-type person in my career in the nursing world, I always felt like I needed to be equally able to do what I asked of my other staff,” she said. “So, I decided that I would need to learn to groom so I could have a clear understanding of what my groomers were being asked to do, and an understanding of what the grooming process is all about.”

Sherma Elliott apprenticed for two years before she went to grooming school, which took about three months to complete. In 2012, she left nursing to groom animals full time.

“I have a lot of love and passion for the animal world,” she said. “One of my dogs, which passed away about six years ago, was a [Human Animal Bonding in Tennessee] dog that we took to Thompson Cancer Center and to St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center.”

Sherma Elliott also has a dog she adopted from the Humane Society and works with Young-Williams Animal Shelter grooming some of their dogs.

The Bark Place also partners with Small Breed Rescue of East Tennessee, offering a minimal charge for grooming its foster dogs until it finds the dogs permanent homes.

The groomers are trained and certified in pet CPR and first aid, and Sherma Elliott said her staff members are active in continuing education.

“It’s a continual learning process with grooming,” she added. “I do require yearly continuing education, and most of the time we go as a shop … to better service our customers.”

The Bark Place is open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday; from 8 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday. It is closed Sunday.

To book an appointment, call 865-777-2275.