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Motor City Match winner Barkside unleashes dog-human social hub in Detroit

Jul 10, 2024

  • Barkside, a dog park, bar and beer/wine garden, celebrates its grand opening as the 169th Motor City Match business
  • Founded by Detroit residents David Oh and Cody Williams, Barkside provides a safe and fun environment for dogs to socialize while their owners enjoy refreshments and activities
  • Barkside offers day passes and membership options, with full-time “re-FUR-ees” ensuring a safe play environment
  • Motor City Match has awarded $19.1M in cash grants; 85% of overall winners are minority-owned businesses, 70% are women-owned and 67% are owned by Detroit residents

JULY 10, 2024 (DETROIT) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) today marked the grand opening of Barkside, a unique dog park and bar concept and the latest Motor City Match grant recipient. The establishment, marking the 169th Motor City Match business open in Detroit, was created to meet the social needs of dogs and their owners in a safe, monitored environment.

Barkside, founded by entrepreneurs David Oh and Cody Williams, offers a unique experience: indoor and outdoor play areas where dogs can socialize while their owners enjoy various beverages and activities in a dog-friendly setting. The concept originated in 2019 when Williams, then working in corporate America, visited a local dog park daily with his pet. He recognized the potential for an enhanced dog park experience and shared his vision with Oh, a fellow dog owner and business partner. After receiving enthusiastic support from family and friends, Barkside was born, elevating the traditional dog park concept.

“Given my background in the corporate world, I wanted to do something more impactful to the community and just to the city of Detroit,” said Oh. “That was the defining moment for me to move forward with this idea.”

Barkside offers flexible visitor options, including day passes for casual visitors and monthly or annual memberships for regular patrons. Humans can enter for free, making it an accessible destination for dog lovers across the city. Guests can enjoy a variety of wines, beers, cocktails and expressos.

The facility employs three full-time “re-FUR-ees” to ensure the safety and proper conduct of all canine visitors. In addition, all dogs are required to have three vaccinations, including Bordetella, Distemper and Rabies.

However, Oh and Williams emphasize that you don’t have to own a dog to enjoy Barkside. The establishment also hosts trivia nights, yoga and singles mingle events, making Barkside a welcoming space for the entire community, regardless of pet ownership status.

“As much as we are a dog park and bar, we like to think we’re so much more than that,” said Williams. “It’s just a really fun casual environment, and it’s so easy for folks to meet and make friends.”

“One of the best things about Motor City Match is that it gives entrepreneurs the ability to be creative and develop new business models that currently don’t exist in Detroit, and Barkside is a perfect example,” said Duggan. “What David and Cody have created will give dog owners a great place to bring their pets to socialize, but also provide this neighborhood with another great option for coffee and cocktails, whether or not you’re a dog owner.”

Located at 7960 Kercheval Ave., the business received a $55,000 grant from Motor City Match for renovations. Beyond its primary function, the venue also serves as a platform for local businesses, hosting special pop-up events to showcase their services.

“Barkside is a perfect example of the innovative businesses that Motor City Match helps bring to life in Detroit,” said Sean Gray, vice president of Small Business Services at the DEGC, which manages the Motor City Match program. “This unique concept not only provides a fun, safe space for our four-legged friends but also creates a new social hub for dog owners in our community.”

Through 27 rounds of Motor City Match:

  • Total cash grants: $19.1 million (Total leveraged investment: $102.7 million)
  • 85 percent are minority-owned businesses
  • 70 percent are women-owned businesses
  • 67 percent are businesses owned by Detroit residents

About Motor City Match

Motor City Match is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Competitive financial assistance is supported by a broad partnership of Southeast Michigan community development financial institutions and corporations including, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, Ford Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, New Economy Initiative, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Motor City Match applications are available quarterly. More information is available at

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