Capitol Hill dog owners may end up finding a new level maintenance thanks to Jeff Judas, the man behind Rex, the new dog-grooming center set to open in the Trace building February 2011.
The Hill’s pet culture is strong and there are already some great businesses dedicated to it including dog walking start-up Dogs on the Hill, East Pike’s Feed Bag, and Pine’s Mud Bay. Competition in the dog grooming space is heavy with 15th Ave East’s City Paws, 10th Ave East’s Kristi’s Grooming, Denny’s Downtown Dog Lounge and 12th’s Dogfather Grooming. There almost as many stylists for dog’s on the Hill as for humans.
CHS caught up with Jarvis and asked a few questions:
Starting with the basics, why are you opening this dog-grooming center on Capitol Hill?
With such a high concentration of dogs on Capitol Hill, we felt that the market is ideal for offering a comfortable, warm and social environment which can provide one-stop shopping for Fido…or Spot…or Rex. We’ll be offering eight custom-designed wash bays, a retail area focused on eco-friendly, active lifestyle and decent quality dog supplies, toys and food, and professional grooming. But at the core of our concept is the self-service dog wash. There’s no other businesses in the area that offer this.
Who else is working with you on this? Rumor has it that this is somehow involved with “the Olson-Pardo Capitol Hill empire”. . .
Actually, Chris Pardo and I have teamed up to launch this venture. Our backgrounds and areas of expertise complement each others. It was one of those times in one’s life where paths converge — via mutual friends — and we discovered that we both have had an almost exact idea of the concept, which we individually had been formulating for several years.
(Rex is a partnership between Judas and Pardo, who is part of the team behind Po Dog and Auto Battery (CHS advertisers))
What can we expect at Rex? And what makes Rex “warm, open and civilized,” exactly?
Our commitment is to blend in with the community. Our location — at Madison & 12th in the Trace Lofts — is ideally suited for our vision. The warmth of the idea starts with our lounge area when you first enter. Coupled with the rich, reclaimed furniture and woods, dogs and their humans will feel very comfortable. We are committed to paying attention to all the senses…from a signature “scent” to the right music to interesting & unique visual details. This is not your parent’s dog store.
Self-service and pro grooming seems great, but what if I don’t know what’s best? Is it rude to stare at people who are washing their dogs first to get an idea?
Our wash bays will be situated and designed to encourage flow & interaction within the store. Gone are the sterile metal tubs. We’re using organic materials throughout – and the actual custom-desgined wash bays will allow for clear sight lines and collaboration.
Do you expect clients to take their dogs in, potentially drop them off for grooming, and head to Tavern Law for a drink? Because I think that’s what I’d end up doing.
Absolutely! And with Barre3 opening on one side of us, we fully expect their clients to drop their dogs off as well while working out. With High 5 Pie opening on the other side of us, we feel we have a great blended suite of businesses which can share customers.
So you’ll get the superfit dog owning population working out at the gym on one side while the rest of them have some pie on the other. But when exactly are you opening?
We’re targeting early February. Chris and I are excited to bring a much needed business concept to Capitol Hill. We have every intention of keeping our finger on the pulse of the neighborhood, with a goal of seamlessly integrating with the needs of the great folks (and their dogs) who call Capitol Hill (and surrounding areas) their home.
Opening a business on the Hill? Been in business and want to talk about it? We’re looking for interesting Capitol Hill stories for more CHS Interviews. Send mail to [email protected].