(July 25, 2014) When visitors walk into West Ocean City’s newest boutique, a pack of friendly pups donning bright outfits greets them at the door.
Together with mother-daughter duo, Virginia and Amanda Knauff, who own the store, rescues Laverne, Shirley, Roxy and Gidget make up Pet Threadz, a shop catering to pet owners in search of custom clothes, beds, collars, leashes, high-quality dog food and more.
The idea behind the shop didn’t start at prestigious dog shows, however, but with a three-pound Maltese named Lillie.
“She’d get really cold and she didn’t fit in anything,” said Amanda, who got the tiny dog as present, “so my mom started making clothes.”
A hobby seamstress since high school, Virginia soon caught the attention of regulars in the dog show circuit with her detailed work. When the Knauffs won a contest for free rent in a Cambridge storefront, they officially launched Pet Threadz.
Many come to the store in search of the perfect outfit for their pooch — everything from “Pup Scout” uniforms to nurses’ frocks for the dogs that visit nursing homes.
When the Knauffs moved their shop next-door to OC Pet Spa on Route 611, they added a line of Ocean City outfits, including doggie T-shirts starting at $20. There’s also a large selection of sports team outfits for pets.
“We try to have fun with it,” Virginia said. “We cater to the dog’s health and to the fun side of it.”
The move to West Ocean City came in June at the behest of next-door groomer OC Pet Spa. It cut back on the commute time for the Knauffs, who called the change a win-win.
“We get a lot of tourists from Assateague and Frontier Town,” Virginia said, but the business will stay opened year-round for pet owners who rely on it for high-nutrition dog food brands such as Blue Buffalo.
The outfits start around $20 — similar to prices at PetCo — Virginia said. Pageant-style dresses decked with Swarovski crystals and other adornments run about $85 and custom dog beds start at $40.
Customers can browse the front room for inspiration or visit the fabric room to choose from an array of options.
“We can accommodate almost anything,” said Virginia, who’s designed everything from life vests for a greyhound to a tutu for a hamster. And if Pet Threadz doesn’t carry the fabric a customer wants, she just needs is a photo to order a match.
“People think just foo foo dogs wear them, but we’ve had a lot of pit bulls that get cold come in for outfits,” Virginia said. “Customer service is our main goal. If our customers aren’t happy, we aren’t happy.”
All of Pet Threadz outfits are custom-made in the United States and come with a guarantee in case of ill fits or weak stitching.
The Knauffs’ own dogs stand testament to their work, donning everything from matching Red Riding Hood outfits to Wizard of Oz costumes over the years.
“They’re our family,” Amanda said.
Pet Threadz is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Decatur Business Center on Route 611in West Ocean City.
Find the store on Facebook by searching “Pet Threadz” or call 443-955-0904.