Autumn Barefoot makes, sells dog treats at Clemmons Farmers Market

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 20, 2021

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By Beth Cassidy
For the Clemmons Courier

At the tender age of nine, Autumn Barefoot might be the youngest CEO ever. And some lucky pups in Clemmons and surrounding areas are pretty happy about that.

Barefoot, a third-grader at Shady Grove Elementary, is the owner of Autumn’s Awesome Dog Treats. She bakes and dehydrates dog treats and sells them at the Clemmons Farmer’s Market. It was her own dog, Alice, who got her started in the business.

“One day, we ran out of dog treats, and my mom was going to go to the store to get some and I said, ‘Can’t we just make them? It will be easier and funner.’ So I made them for Alice, and then when we ran out, I made some more of them, and then I started making them to sell in our neighborhood,” Autumn said.

A friend of Autumn’s mom, Carlynn, said she could get Autumn a spot at the farmer’s market. The two times Autumn has set up and sold treats, she sold out of them quickly. Carlynn said with school and activities (Autumn dances and rides horses), there’s only so much time they can spend baking, and with just one oven, only so much space. Autumn said the process to make the treats is a little time consuming, especially cutting out the shapes.

“The best seller are the tiny hearts, but they take the most time to cut out.” She also makes the treats in the shape of a flower.

There are several flavors from which to choose: Peanut Butter-Pumpkin, Oats-Apple-Banana, Carrot, and Beef and Cheese. Alice is the chief taster, and all the treats are Alice-approved. Autumn also makes horse treats that she named Pony Patties.

While Autumn is the owner of the business, her family is happy to help out. Brother Weston, who is in fifth grade, helps by bagging up the treats and setting up at the farmer’s market. Carlynn helps by getting the hot pans out of the oven and driving Autumn places.

“We’re her Uber,” Carlynn said, “but Autumn is the brains behind it. She even created her own logo.”

Her entrepreneurial spirit is strong, but her kind-hearted spirit may be even stronger. Autumn, on her own, made the decision to donate $50 from the proceeds of her two sales to Watchmen of the Streets ministry. The program goes into areas where the homeless tend to live — under bridges, on the streets and in camps — in Charlotte and surrounding areas, including Winston-Salem, to provide food, clothing, prayers and minister to other needs. The Barefoots learned about the ministry through their church, Clemmons United Methodist. Autumn said she plans to donate $100 after the next farmer’s market.

Carlynn is understandably proud of her daughter, not only for setting up the business and donating to the homeless, but also for her determination.

“The first time we set up and sold the treats, it was a lot of work. We had to get up early, and it took awhile to set up. I figured after that, she wouldn’t want to continue, but she said, ‘I can’t wait to do it again.’ She’s actually a pretty shy young lady so for her to go out there and talk to people and make the sales, it’s a big deal. She really has stayed determined and this was her choice, so we will just keep helping her out as long as she wants to continue.”

Autumn and her treats can be found once a month at the Clemmons Farmer’s Market, held on Saturdays from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Jerry Long Family YMCA off Peacehaven Road.