Twenty years ago Michael Shapiro wanted to open a different kind of business that fit into the Portland culture. In the five years he had lived in Oregon, he noticed many people with dogs had do-it-yourself attitudes. So he created Beauty for the Beast, a pet launderette that had everything people needed to bathe and groom their own dogs. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Beauty for the Beast has expanded organically to include retail, grooming and even doggie day care at one of its two locations.
When Michael opened his first do-it-yourself dog wash site on Sandy Boulevard, he had three tubs for large dogs, one tub for small dogs and drying benches with grooming supplies. “We have all the standard grooming equipment,” Michael says. Shampoos, ear wipes, brushes, dryers and nail clippers are provided, and electric clippers and Furminators (to remove undercoats) are available for rent. “People started to ask if we sold this shampoo or that brush, so we started a small retail section. That naturally led into pet supplies and food.”
After about five years, Michael expanded into the empty retail space next to the bathing facility and added more retail. As business grew, he hired someone to help out. She was a groomer and eventually persuaded him to add yet more space and professional grooming services. “A lot of people use the groomer, but in between they come in and self-bathe their dog,” Michael says. He added a second location on North Lombard about seven years ago, and since that site had more space than he needed, as well as outdoor space, he eventually decided it was natural to add doggie day care in that location.
Having grown up in a large Jewish community in Cleveland, Michael was intrigued when he saw “Chewish” dog toys at a trade show. The stuffed dog toys include bagels and lox, dreidels and lips labeled “Yenta.” He now features a full array of the Copa Judaica Chewish toys. He also stocks doggie kippot and tallit from a company that makes Halloween costumes for dogs. “I grew up in South Euclid and then moved in with my grandparents in University Heights,” he says. “I went to temple and Hebrew school and had a bar mitzvah – the usual. It was a huge Jewish community; I was pretty immersed.”
Nowadays he has an annual Hanukkah party for friends, attends High Holiday services at Beth Israel with a friend and stocks everything Jewish dog owners could ever want for their dogs.