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Three Dog Bakery Toasts 15th Anniversary

By Norb Garrett

Surviving both a pandemic and a recession are good reasons to celebrate, so Three Dog Bakery in Downtown San Clemente did just that this past weekend, kicking off its 15-year anniversary.

For co-owners Lauren and Denise O’Donnell, who purchased the business in 2012 from the original owners, the anniversary is a testament to dedication and commitment to the community and dog lovers.

“I have always been a big dog lover and wanted to find a way to support the dog-and-rescue community,” said Denise, who stepped away from her career in corporate IT to become a small-business owner. 

“Also, I had recently moved to San Clemente from Irvine and loved the small-town ambience of the city and downtown,” Denise continued. “Purchasing the bakery seemed like an ideal way to support the dog-and-rescue activities and be more involved in the community.” 

Three Dog Bakery manager Tristene Steimle with owners Denise and Lauren O’Donnell. Photo: Norb Garrett

Denise asked her daughter, Lauren, a recent college graduate, to help out, and they’ve been together running the business ever since.

“We each have our own responsibilities” said Denise. “Lauren is the baker and manages the store and day-to-day operations. I do all of the merchandising, finances, marketing and work with the various organizations. We complement each other and have grown closer. But as a typical mother-daughter relationship, we do have our moments.”

To celebrate the special occasion, Three Dog Bakery this past Saturday, Oct. 16, offered free photos to customers and their dogs, free Pupcakes (a store specialty), raffles, flavored water for the pups and a display of 15 years of customer photos.

Three Dog Bakery is part of a 50-store nationwide franchise specializing in unique dog products and bakery items. Known for its “Celebration Cakes,” and “Pupcakes,” the shop also carries healthy dog food, treats, leashes, collars, spa products, chews, and toys, to name a few.

“We try to complement the local pet stores and not compete, but occasionally we will overlap,” said Denise. “Our goal is happy customers, and if we don’t have what the customer needs, we will contact the local pet stores to find it. They also do the same for us.”

“I also like to carry local products; if someone local has created a product, we will try it in our store, and if it’s successful, we will introduce it to the corporate staff who create a preferred vendor list for sales throughout the network,” she also said.

With 15 years in the books, Denise is proud of how her team has persevered through the pandemic, during which her business was deemed essential because it sold food for dogs.

“We saw a big increase in ‘shop local,’ which has continued,” she said. “Not only did we see an increase in local support, but many families added a new pup during the last year, so our four-legged customer base has increased, as well. We would not be here now without the tremendous support of the community.”

Three Dog Bakery

174 Avenida Del Mar


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