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The Black Dog

From Porches To Products

The Black Dog is a company started by Robert Douglas on Martha’s Vineyard, a small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Martha’s Vineyard was, and still remains, an extremely popular summertime vacation destination. The lively summers captivated Robert as he sat with his dog, ‘Black Dog’, watching the people come and go. The winters were much quieter, sparking Robert’s dream of opening a place where people could dine and chat year-round, and so The Black Dog Tavern opened its doors in 1971.

What was once just a small dining establishment now includes a full-fledged merchandising brand, featuring clothing and accessories for men, women, children, and of course, dogs! The Black Dog’s products were once exclusive to visitors of Martha’s Vineyard, but they’re now available online and at dozens of retail stores spread across Massachusetts.


Easy to Navigate, Easy to Manage

The Black Dog was a joint-venture between ourselves and our friends at Jackrabbit Design. Jackrabbit handled the design, while we developed the robust back end of the website. The Black Dog sells a wide array of products and their old shop had become cumbersome and difficult to navigate.

We were able to restructure their navigation, making it easier for their customers to browse the shop. Alongside this change we also made their products easier to manage by leveraging the power and flexibility of Shopify’s “automated collections.” This allows The Black Dog to simply tag their products and Shopify will automatically sort them into their appropriate categories.

Growth Spark was brought onto build out a robust and highly functional back end. By adding in multiple automations, The Black Dog was now a website that could be managed and optimized in minutes a week, instead of hours a day.


Prettier Products

Providing a great shopping experience doesn’t end with navigation! By adding color swatches, product badges and related product recommendations, we were able to make The Black Dog shop more fun and engaging. Customers can now be sure of their color choices, identify sale items at a glance, and locate items similar to the ones they’re browsing.

Finding Your Local Black Dog

With their ever-growing number of retail stores, it’s important that The Black Dog’s customers can find the location nearest to them. We used an excellent Shopify app called Store Locator from Bold Commerce, providing us with an ultra-customizable store location solution that’s fully backed by Google Maps. Store Locator allows The Black Dog to easily manage their store locations, store hours, and other location-specific information.

Life Off the Leash


The Black Dog has a new shop that offers their customers a great shopping experience, and their employees a great administration experience. But, running an e-commerce business is a 24/7 job, which means that e-commerce projects are an ongoing effort that always benefits from improvements. The Black Dog website offers a great customer experience, and by continuing their relationship with Growth Spark, the company has ensured that their viewers will always be thrilled with new features each time they visit.

Additional Work