The off-white chaise lounge in the front window of Rose Cottage isn’t shabby chic, says owner Edna Middleton, but it goes with shabby chic, and she carries a lot of that.
The chaise lounge aside, Middleton doesn’t really sell furniture. She sells “accent pieces”—end tables, tea trays, and shelves along with lamps, wall sconces, pictures, and clocks. Some are old pieces with the original white paint partly worn away. The rest are modern reproductions made to look old and weathered. Rose Cottage also carries things that aren’t white, like scented candles, a smattering of dark Americana pieces, big bunches of colorful silk flowers, and a bookcase filled with a large selection of incredibly realistic imitation fruit.
Rose Cottage shares space with O’Neil’s Home Furnishings. Owner Mary O’Neil Hamilton had planned to move upstairs and sublet the first floor. When Middleton came along, Hamilton decided to stay downstairs and share a showroom.
It’s a major career switch for Middleton. She spent twenty-five years in purchasing, including a twelve-year stint with the South Carolina Department of Corrections, where, instead of furnishing homes, she furnished prisons.
Rose Cottage, 8110 Main, Dexter, 272–2015. Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Sun. noon–3 p.m. Closed Mon.
Did you know that the fur of a chinchilla is so full of oil that you have to bathe the critter in dust to soak it all up? Kirsten Snyder found that out while stocking her new pet supply store Wags to Wiskers, which opened in Dexter Plaza in mid-August. That’s why she carries special chinchilla bathing dust—as well as enclosed, see-through chinchilla bathhouses—along with many other pet supplies and a wide variety of pet food, too, including all-natural organic foods and treats. Snyder, forty-seven, has been a recreational therapist, a project manager for software development at Ford, and, most recently, a real estate agent.
Dena Gilmore opened the first Wags to Wiskers in Saline in 2002 and another in Chelsea two years later. Then she started licensing the Wags to Wiskers name, concept, and mascots—the cartoon dog and cat on the front window. A third store opened in Gaylord in 2006, and Snyder is sole owner of the fourth. Gilmore says more stores are on the way.
Snyder says pet supplies hadn’t occurred to her when she decided to open her own business a couple of years ago and started researching franchise and licensing opportunities. But she liked what she saw at the Chelsea Wags to Wiskers. “I decided to do pet supplies because if people don’t have children, they have pets,” Snyder says. “And typically, people take very good care of their pets.”
Wags to Wiskers, 7050 Dexter–Ann Arbor Road (Dexter Plaza), Dexter, 424–1500. Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m.