Two decades ago, washing a dog was either a back-breaking battle in the bathtub, or a wet and wild experience with the hose. In other words, bathing your dog, especially the big, hairy ones, was messy business.
Then came self-service dog washes. Michael Shapiro, owner of Beauty for the Beast Pet Launderette, came across such a then-new establishment while traveling and was delighted with the idea. “At the time, I had a very furry Samoyed who needed a lot of bathing,” he recalls.
Shapiro opened Beauty for the Beast on Sandy Blvd. in 1993, making it Portland’s first self-service pet wash. “Because it was a new business model for the Portland area, I wanted a name that described the business,” says Shapiro says. “Along with the tagline, ‘Keep Oregon Clean, Wash the Dog.’”
Starting out, it was strictly a “do-it-yourself” kind of place. Over the years, professional grooming and retail space were added. In 2006, a second location opened on Lombard in North Portland to serve that community and the growing number of dog-lovers crossing the river from Vancouver. The Lombard store recently added obedience training to its roster, and will soon open a dog daycare. Both locations are open seven days a week.
This “Beauty” scored 2012 Top Dog wins in three major categories — Dog Grooming, Cat Grooming, and Dog Wash.
“It’s great to be appreciated by our customers this way,” says Shapiro, adding, “The entire staff is honored to be chosen in so many categories.” In fact Shapiro credits much of the acclaim to both his staff of 12 (many longtime employees), as well as their longtime customers. “A lot of repeat customers are on their second dogs.” he says.
The “pet launderette” features waist-high walk-up tubs with non-skid surfaces. Easily accessible for bigger and/or elderly dogs, smaller sink-style tubs are available for smaller pups.
A nice supply of accessories — shampoos, combs, brushes, ear and eye wipes, dry towels — are provided, as well as protective aprons to protect from flying dirty, soapy water. Grooming tables are also on site for fluffing and buffing.
Self-service prices range $11-$20 based on weight, with slight additional charges for nail trims. A recent addition that’s proven very popular is anesthesia-free teeth cleaning, available by appointment.
The professional groomers at Beauty for the Beast provide grooming specific to a pet’s needs and breed standards, and yes, they do cats! The company’s retail space, which ranked in the top 10 of the Top Dog Awards’ Holistic Merchant category, offers natural, holistic, and grain-free pet foods and treats. The well-stocked space also carries collars, beds, bowls and topical flea control products. Bones, chews and squeaky toys tempt outgoing pups as their people check out, mimicking impulse-buy items at stores for people.
Shapiro appreciates his company’s Top Dog ranking. “These awards are good feedback on how we are serving the community,” he says.