â€śOh, happy day!â€ť is the morning David, my husband, and I discover BigDogBoutique as we lead Lasyrenn, our year-old Aussie, on her morning training walk around the historic, courthouse-centric square in Carthage.
Starting our daily training-window-viewing outing at Mother Road Coffee and the Screen Door Antiques, we pause to gaze in at the Village Square Boutique. Here we admire the tempting new fashion arrivals I just might want to try on later. Next comes Annieâ€™s, our treasured gourmet kitchen and gift shop, where Stormy and Betty always keep a fresh stock of our favorite dark chocolate truffles. The expansive views at Cherryâ€™s Art Emporium offer up a plethora of stunning multimedia art and philanthropically that gives a supportive shout out for artCentral, our hometownâ€™s amazing nonprofit arts gallery. At the Deli, we comment on the lovely window collection of thriving jade plants and bougainvillea and ponder sharing one of their excellent grilled Reuben sandwiches sometime soon.
Making the corner at the county sheriffâ€™s office, we pass The Print House of Fine Art displaying works in progress. The front windows of Goadâ€™s Antiques entice us to consider vintage novelties inside. Rayâ€™s and Lanaâ€™s True Value hardware store shows off handsome grandfather clocks and home furnishings and lots of gift choices for family and friends. In The Front Page, we see an array of pocket-friendly clothing and home accessories. At Lillian James and Company, weâ€™re inspired by glimpses of sparkling lights in the exquisitely updated interiors.
Coming to the next corner, Lasyrenn begins tugging on her tether. We suspect sheâ€™s anxious to cover the next two blocks quickly and get to the Farm Bureau where a farmyard tableau includes a feather-covered faux chicken, a black and white polka-dotted textile milk cow and a disarray of fluffy, stuffed little lambs that seem to be in need of Lasyrennâ€™s working-dog herding.
Instead, Lasyrenn has her GPS programmed for BigDogBoutique, the neatest, newest little shop in Carthage. Since the day Lasyrenn discovered the window displays she has been beside herself with delight.
What can be more enticing than four life-sized pretend puppies fashionably turned out in distinctive collars and leads as they quietly sit and wait for her to stroll by? Up on the window tap-tap-tapping and scratch-scratch-scratching, our puppy wants her newfound friends to come on out and play.
David and I are infatuated with the artistically dressed, minimalist display windows flanking the shop entrance. Behind one window, against a neutral backdrop rising from old wooden floors, dog toys and accessories fill galvanized buckets suspended from a long, weathered, beaver-sculpted branch on the wall above Lasyrennâ€™s new friends. The opposite window, across the marble and tile entry floor, features a life-sized ceramic pony and colorful, Lucky Pony western and English tack mounted on simple wrought iron racks.
Inside BigDogBoutique, fashion-forward shop goods are thoughtfully set about in a stylish, vintage wonderland furnished with original tin ceilings and darkly stained displays creatively assembled from large up-cycled wooden spools and wooden pallets. The â€śBark of Fameâ€ť gallery wall features 4-by-6-inch framed photographs contributed by the companions of dogs who visit the shop. Youâ€™ll find distinctive Lucky Pony equestrian tack and gift items hung on a kiosk of replicated stable walls.
Owner and shop proprietor, Jeanette Cartright, originally from Joplin, has lived in Carthage for 13 years with her husband, their two daughters and their family including three dogs â€” Max, a German shepherd; Ted, a goldendoodle; Daisy, a Maltese; a horse named Ginger; and a cat named Theo.
After 17 years as a stay-at-home mom, Jeanette felt inspired to take on something new that would interest her and serve as good role-modeling for her daughters. Working from her home, she bought and for three years ran her company as an online, family-owned, cottage enterprise. Jeanette told herself, â€śIâ€™ll open a shop on the square if the right location becomes available.â€ť
Today, at her perfectly charming location, youâ€™ll find Jeanette or one of her daughters, Grace or Katherine, keeping shop hours and welcoming you with their beautiful, friendly smiles at 336 Grant Street on the east side of the courthouse square. Shop hours are Monday through Friday, 10:30 am-5:30 pm, and Saturday, 10:00 am-1:00 pm.
As a style-minded pet store, BigDogBoutique offers dog collars to fit petite pups all the way up to giant dog breeds. All their collars and leads are made by small businesses that manufacture their products in the USA. Whether your dog is a family pet, a show off companion, an obedience champion, a guard dog or a working dog, BigDogBoutique has the perfect collar and leash. Thereâ€™s also a bakery case full of novelty doggy confections. Durable toys, training bells and much, much more are available. From the $3 clearance rack we purchased a bead-encrusted collar for Chiquita, our Wheaton Terrier Poodle.
Visit, BigDogBoutique soon! You just may find our Lasyrenn playing with the shop toys while David and I talk with Jeanette about an upcoming art walk or Lasyrennâ€™s ongoing crush on Ted.
Alice Lynn Greenwood-Mathe is the executive director-curator of artCentral at the Hyde House in Carthage.