Queen Anne has gone to the cats and dogs.
And a Wolfe has made it all happen.
Last weekend, Wag N’ Wash Natural Food & Bakery opened its first Seattle location at 1932 Queen Anne Ave. N., bringing its own spin on the pet retail and grooming market under the direction of co-owners Bill Wolfe and Andrew Held.
The partners live just four blocks from the store, and had previously been customers of the chain’s Phoenix location.
“We knew the concept and loved it,” Wolfe said. “There was nothing up here like it, so we just got in the habit of pointing out great, empty store spaces for a Wag N’ Wash.”
Wolfe and Held moved to Seattle a few years ago, after the latter received a job offer in the city. The duo landed in Queen Anne; Wolfe said after originally targeting the core of the city, they fell in love with the neighborhood.
And for years, living just a stone’s throw from the new store, they would walk by the empty storefront with their pet schnauzers.
But what began as a thought in passing morphed into something more serious. Eventually, they committed to opening a Wag N’ Wash of their own.
Wolfe said he’s “dug deep” back into a previous career, previously working in hotel operations, in opening the store.
“It was really just kind of like jumping back into it,” he said. “I found it fairly easy.”
While Wolfe is quick to acknowledge other pet-centric stores in the area, he believes Wag N’ Wash has a unique combination of offerings not found in the area.
“There are a lot of other great pet food stores in the area,” Wolfe said. “They do a fantastic job, they’re very well educated, have a great staff, but they don’t have the self-wash, or they don’t have the bakery, or they don’t have the full service grooming. What sets us apart is we’re an all-in-one.”
Wolfe emphasized the self-wash as a particular asset that separates his store.
“That was the thing I missed the most when coming up to Seattle,” he said, noting that he would often clean his schnauzers in between grooming sessions.
In addition to its selection of all-natural pet foods, high-end supplements, and toys, the store also houses a bakery, with a variety of treats made from human-grade ingredients.
“Their food philosophy is pretty much anything that’s good for you and I should also be good for our pets,” Wolfe said.
The biggest challenge of opening the new store, he said, was finding the right staff.
“You want to make sure that the person that’s representing your livelihood, your business, is treating your customers second to none,” Wolfe said.
In all, Wolfe said the sense of neighborhood he’s found in Queen Anne, and along with the number of dog-owners in the community made this right the space for the business.
“I love the fact that I can see my neighbors walking down the street, walking their dogs, and they pop in just to say hello,” he said.
Customers will also see plenty of the owners’ newest pet, a six-month old golden retriever that Wolfe said will be the “store dog.”
While he said he’s confident the business will do well, Wolfe also noted his amazement by the number of people to walk by and wave, or stop in and say hello as he readied the store for its official opening.
“It’s exciting to me to see the community as engaged as they are,” he said.
For more information on Wag N’ Wash and the Queen Anne location, go to www.wagnwash.com/locations/seattle-wa/. The store is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.