Ashburn Magazine

Loudoun nonprofit dog treat bakery seeing big growth

Every two weeks, a young woman named Natalie comes home to Alexandria from her job at the ECHO Barkery in Ashburn. She’s especially excited because it’s payday, and she and her parents gather together while the envelope is opened.

“Her father has told us how… she always holds the paycheck up and says she is taking her mom and dad to dinner,” said Pete Yuska, general manager at the Barkery.

Natalie is one of 16 employees with intellectual or developmental disabilities at the ECHO Barkery, at 20630 Ashburn Road(Editor’s note: The organization prefers not to share its employees’ last names.) At the Barkery, they spend their workdays listening to music and enjoying each other’s company while baking organic dog treats that are sold in stores around the Mid-Atlantic.

Providing meaningful jobs like this for adults with disabilities is the mission of the Leesburg-based nonprofit ECHO (Every Citizen Has Opportunities), and it’s the focus of the Barkery since it was launched during the pandemic in 2020. Now, the bakery is seeing some major growth with no end in sight.

Click here to read the full story over at the Ashburn Magazine website. You’ll learn how the recent pandemic helped launch the bakery, the lessons they’ve learned over the first few years, and how they are expanding rapidly.