`The people who come in here are always happy people – they’re a
different breed," says Margo Orland, owner of Picky Paws in
Lambertville, oblivious to the pun she’s just made. It’s a far cry
from her brother’s business – Orland Ewing Memorial Chapel, a funeral
home in Ewing started by their father over 50 years ago.
Orland, who grew up in Trenton, two blocks from Cadwalader Park, was
the number one ranked female junior tennis player in Mercer County.
When she graduated from Mercer County Community College in the early
1970s with a degree in allied health and mortuary science, she found
herself having to decide which family business path to follow – in
addition to the funeral home her father had also bought a clothing
store, Harold’s, on the corner of North Union and Church streets in
"We’ve owned that corner for 60 years," says Orland, whose mother, a
Lambertville native, was born across the street. After working with
her parents and then taking over Harold’s and serving a stint as a
buyer for Paul Stewart in New York, Orland went back to school to earn
a two-year degree in ophthalmic technology at Georgetown University in
Washington, DC. She then opened her own business, Eyecall Inc., doing
contract diagnostic testing for a group of retina specialists in
But last year her mom entered Greenwood House, a nursing home in
Ewing, and Orland decided it was time to come back to the roost. When
a space on Church Street in the section her family owns became vacant,
Orland picked the perfect business – a clothing store for pets that
also sells high-end toys, collars, leashes, beds, and carriers. After
years of working for herself, now, says Orland, "I work for her,"
referring to Jersey Girl, her 9 and 1/2-month-old morkie (a Maltese
and Yorkshire Terrier mix). "I have a sign that says `Walking the
Pooch’ that I put up when I take her out."
Picky Paws is indeed a pet boutique. The Zazu dog bed from Italy is
shaped like an igloo and comes in European orange or green stripes.
Fatboy beds from Amsterdam can be used indoors or out and can be hosed
off. There are jean jackets and equestrian-style blankets for dogs.
Orland loves the line of luxury knock-off items from Haute Diggedy
Dog, which was just featured on Good Morning America – including a
knock-off of a Mercedes dog bed called Furcedes, and soft toys in the
shape of shoes called Jimmy Chew and Bark Jacobs or in the shape of a
purse called Chewy Vuitton or the shape of an iPod called iPaw.
On Saturday, October 28, Retro Pup presents a trunk show, where
customers can pick their own retro fabric and the company will
custom-make a dog bed with it.
Orland, who is single, has turned Picky Paws into a social life of its
own. On the second Saturday of each month – in conjunction with the
Lambertville-New Hope Second Saturdays series, when the towns’
galleries and stores stay open late and musicians deck the sidewalks –
Orland holds a "Mutt Mingle" outside the store. "Lambertville is a
very pet-friendly town," says Orland. "So many people have dogs and
they like to get together and congregate." Each Mutt Mingle has a
theme. "In the summer, I serve Mutt Licks, ice cream for dogs," says
Orland, who posts a sandwich-board sign that says "BYOB – Bring Your
Own Breed" on the corner to attract pet owners.
And on Saturday, October 14, in honor of Halloween, the Mutt Mingle
will actually be the second annual Pet Masquerade, a tradition started
last year by the owners of Monkey Hill (which has since moved to New
Hope). "This is a fabulous event," says Orland. "Last year there were
over 200 pets – all dressed up for Halloween." This year, Church
Street will be closed off for the event – and Orland has ordered some
very special libations for the pooches, Happy Tails ale, a Napa Valley
brew made especially for dogs.
Orland called on every store and gallery in Lambertville and has
culled a stockpile of prizes worth barking about – a $350 bowl from
George Evans, a prominent antique dealer; three original paintings
from the Hrefna Jonsdottir Gallery, a gift basket valued at $250 from
Monkey Hill, lunch for two at Lambertville Station, dinners at
Hamilton Grill and Rick’s, and more. Proceeds benefit Animal Alliance
in Belle Mead, a pet rescue organization that provides foster care and
placement for "death row" cats and dogs.
So, what’s Jersey Girl going to dress up as? "Wonder Girl." And is it
just cats and dogs that come to the parade? "Oh, no," says Orland.
"Last year we had a hedgehog."
Pet Masquerade, Saturday, October 14, 3 to 6 p.m., Picky Paws, One
Church Street, Lambertville. Registration ($10) takes place 3 to 5
p.m.; parade starts at 5 p.m.; winners announced at 6 p.m. Volunteers
from Animal Alliance will be on hand to talk about pet adoption. Also,
Retro Pup Trunk Show, Saturday, October 28, noon. to 5 p.m., custom
dog bed maker. 609-397-7297.