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Commerce Bank's #DriveUpPups program returns for a second year.

For the second year, #DriveUpPups returns to Commerce Bank and this year we’ve added a new layer of fun. We’re collaborating with Bar K to provide our four-legged friends a card for free entry ($10 value) to Bar K. The dog-friendly bar has locations in Kansas City and St. Louis. Each location has a bar, restaurant and plenty of space for your pup to explore.

Many bankers at Commerce Bank will tell you that as much as they love their human customers, the four-legged customers who visit them in the drive-thru lane are their favorites. Being greeted by an excited pup, and offering a friendly treat in return, is often the highlight of any banker’s day. It’s for this very reason that many branches keep plenty of dog treats on hand at all times.

“We have a couple dogs who are regulars here,” explains Taylor Busken, a banker at Commerce’s branch in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

“One is a chocolate lab who ignores us until he sees his treat and sticks his head out of the window to grab it. Another is a wiener dog who barks to demand our attention until he gets his treat.”

Melissa Burrell, a banker at Commerce’s Town and Country, Missouri branch, says her favorite “dog buddy” is a Labrador named Buck.

“He whines in the front seat of his owner’s pick-up truck until I finish the transaction,” she says. “He passes the receipt to his owner, then gets lots of love from me, along with a treat.”

Again this summer, we want to see as many of your furry friends as possible — in our drive-thrus and on Instagram. From July 1 through September 30, every customer bringing a dog through a Commerce drive-thru lane will get a special snack for their four-legged family member. We’re also encouraging customers to take pictures of their pups in the drive-thru and post them on Instagram with the hashtag #DriveUpPups while also tagging @commercebank — that way, we can share the pictures of your pups on our social media as well. For each of these pictures, the bank will donate $10 (up to a maximum of $10,000) to organizations in Commerce markets that make a better world for dogs to live in.

“It’s a fun way for us to celebrate some of our favorite ‘customers’ while also giving back to the community,” said Adam Steven, director of regional retail banking for Commerce Bank. “The pups that come visit our branches give our bankers a lot of joy, and this is a nice way for us to thank them–and their owners, of course.”

One of the organizations that will benefit from the money raised through #DriveUpPups is Tower Grove Park, a popular location for St. Louis area dogs and their owners. “We’re a leash-on park, which makes it a safer place for everyone, including dogs,” says Bill Reininger, the park’s executive director.

“With 289 acres, there’s a lot of grass to be ambled around on and plenty of paths for families and pets. We also have a farmer’s market twice a week, where vendors sell pet treats and put out water for dogs.”

As Reininger notes, fundraisers are important for the park, as it’s independent from the St. Louis city park system. “We’re responsible for our own operations,” he says. “We depend on the revenue we earn through park memberships as well as charitable support. We’re grateful for everything Commerce Bank does for the park and for all the support we get from the public.” KC Pet Project is another organization that will benefit from #DriveUpPups. This nonprofit works to increase the number of homeless pets adopted, promote pet retention and provide pet-ownership education throughout the Kansas City community.

As KC Pet Project chief communications officer Tori Fugate notes, the vast majority of their operation is funded by donations.

“Our success depends on the support of our community,” she says. “Whether it’s individuals or corporate support, or even in-kind gifts like dog food or cat litter, those donations keep us going.”

It’s important work that the KC Pet Project is doing. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many pet owners found themselves unable to care for their pets due to illness, job loss or other factors. KC Pet Project helped find temporary foster homes for those pets until their owners were ready to welcome them back.

“We call this our ‘Keep ‘Em Together, KC’ program,” says Fugate. “In 2020 alone, we helped 88 families. We take care of people’s pets with an emergency foster program, and it takes some of the stress off of the pet owners while they focus on other important issues.”

Fugate notes that KC Pet Project is as focused on pet owners as they are on the pets themselves.

“We’re here to take care of animals, but our work is about people, too,” she says. “We want to create a better place for people and pets.”

For their part, the people at Commerce Bank are happy to be able to help organizations like KC Pet Project and Tower Grove Park. “#DriveUpPups will be fun for our customers and their dogs, and it will help to support organizations that are making our communities even better places for dogs,” says Steven. “We look forward to giving out a lot of dog treats.”

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