After the city's top inspector intervened to cut some red tape, Nancy Baxter and Rebecca Wildstein's new doggie daycare/grooming salon is open.
Baxter said Buddy Christopher, the new head of Inspectional Services, cleared the way. Fancy Schmancy opened its doors (and hand-made kennels) on Monday. The hold up involved getting dog services added to the allowed uses for 610 Centre St. They used to be just retail, nail salon and laundry.
Fancy Schmancy offers dog grooming, daytime boarding, self-service dog washing and a small retail selection. The space was formerly occupied by Botanica Anaisa, which sold religious icons and gave spiritual advice.
The space has changed a lot. They've enclosed a stairwell and redone the paint in "Tiffany Blue." It's a nod to the shop's luxury theme and business goal of providing high-end customer service.
"We want you to feel like this is a spa you would go to yourself," Baxter said Saturday as family and friends helped get the store ready for its Monday opening.
"Like the Ritz-Carlton for dogs," added Wildstein.
Baxter's father, Steven Welus, hand-made the three large kennels. There's a "porch" area at the back for doggie day care guests and a grooming station. There are also elevated baths for do-it-yourself dog washing. And, of course, the large TV will be tuned to Animal Planet.
There's no dedicated parking for the facility. Dog owners will be asked to park on St. John or Pond to bring their dogs in, as the area directly in front of the shop is a bus stop.
The store includes a small retail area. Baxter and Wildstein said they'd source exclusively from the U.S.
Baxter said they'll be open to suggestions from customers about services they can offer as they get to know the neighborhood dog owners' needs. For instance, they might offer to pick up dogs from places where it's easier to park.
There's room for about eight large dogs during doggie day care hours, which run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. No overnight canines are allowed. There's no space in the back of the property for dog walks, but canine customers would get airings via leashed walks at the Pond and the Arboretum.
Baxter has lived in JP for two decades. The family she married into goes back even further. For instance, her mother-in-law's grandfather told stories about learning to drive his Model T in a circle around the Pond.
Fancy Schmancy joins a burgeoning dog economy in Jamaica Plain. In nearby Hyde Square, Tails, a shop offering similar services has expanded to two storefronts. And along South Street, there's an outpost of Polka Dog Bakery, not far from Pups N' Paradise. Add to that a large and evolving group of dog walking businesses.
Baxter recalls talking with one man in front of her storefront recently about the prospects for a new dog parlor in JP.
"Lady, there are so many dogs here," she recalls him saying.
Fancy Schmancy, 610 Centre St., open 7 a.m.-7 p.m., 617-553-2341