Downtown Salem is not just the domain of businesses large and small; it is also the home of shop animals who bring individuality and personality to the downtown experience.
Lovey, the Standard Poodle, has graced Greenbaum’s Quilted Forest (240 Commercial Street NE) for four years, and owner Sylvia Dorney says, “Soft, fuzzy Lovey is an attraction for the young and young at heart! Yes, people come in just to see her! Especially husbands and children of customers.” Lovey accompanies Dorney on errands around town, and when it’s time for a rest, enjoys her own home-quilted bed in a quiet area beneath bolts of colorful fabric.
“The dogs are here, the dogs are part of us,” says Lullu Truitt of Lullu’s tutto cucina (357 Court St NE) of Ginger and Guido, her Doberman Pinschers. The store has kept dogs on the floor the entire twelve years it’s been downtown.
Lullu considers having the dogs on hand an outreach on behalf of the often-misunderstood breed. “One of the things I like is that I can tell people, and show people, that Dobermans are really friendly,” she says.
“The biggest danger about these guys is that you’ll get licked to death,” her husband David adds, laughing.
Around the corner, Nopp’s Jewelry & Art (201 Commercial NE) offers customers two dogs and a parrot named Whiskey. The dogs, Dory and Filson, are German Wirehaired Pointers, who move among store customers gracefully and actually leap onto the showcases for naps.
“We have been bringing animals to the shop for about forty years,” Garry Nopp says. “We got our first German Wirehaired Pointer in 1978, the year the Blazers won the playoffs.” The store has had five more since.
Nopp says his customers love the dogs “99.9 % of the time,” and many come in just to pet them. “Our feeling is that we spend one third of our life at our job,” he says, “and we like to have things that are dear to us around.”
Whisky, a Military McCaw, inhabits the back of the store where he amuses himself and customers with antics and unexpected noises.
A smaller bird captures hearts across the way. Quito, a Green-cheeked Conure, has come to work with his owners Jonathan Fahey and Ann Tucker, proprieters of Create A Memory studio (270 Commercial NE) since he was eight weeks old.
“Quito’s motto is, ‘I’m not messy I’m creative!’” Fahey says. “He leads our customers by example when it comes to having fun and trying new things.”
Most Create A Memory customers love the little bird. “He chirps and dances all day long in his tree. Children get to see a bird up close and most of them have never had a close-up of a bird, they find it quite exciting,” Fahey says. “If children are done with their artwork, they tend to find the color crayons or pencils and make a picture of him.”
All the shop owners we contacted told us that animals created a warm and homey atmosphere in their stores. It seems that animals are welcomed by Salem residents into the downtown community.
As Lovey’s “mom” says, “I’m grateful that my customers love and embrace a shop dog!”