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Mother, daughter work side by side in home decor store, pet grooming

LARGO — Zori Barnhill is a different kind of one-stop shopper.

While she shops at Garden Gate Home Décor, her cat, Missy, gets bathed and groomed just steps away at Unleashed Pet Spa.

It's a mother-daughter act that started this summer at 1931 West Bay Drive. Lisa Menze expanded Unleashed Pet Spa and moved into the freestanding building with two 1,200-square-foot units. Her mother, Kay Davis, who owns Garden Gate, moved into the second unit and expanded.

"I like having Mom next door," said Menze, 44. "I don't have to worry about her being alone in a shop somewhere. She understands the dogs and we help each other."

Davis said the side-by-side arrangement of the businesses is working well. "It's nice to be together," she said.

Zori Barnhill, a St. Petersburg native and hospice nurse who lives in Largo, said she met Davis a few years ago when she had gifts and furnishings in another shop.

"I like shabby chic and antiques, and Kay always manages to come up with unique finds," Barnhill said.

After Davis opened in the new location, Barnhill found a stray cat on a friend's windowsill.

"I named her Missy," she said. "Kay said Lisa could do her grooming. I took her and she did an excellent job. Missy's one of the best cats I've ever had, and I don't want her to associate me with any discomfort."

Menze, who has been grooming all breeds of show and pet dogs and cats for more than 20 years, is a handler herself and shows poodles, terriers and chihuahuas in competition.

The shop's inventory includes leashes, toys, feeding accessories, beds, gifts, Barxx raw dog food and Taste of the Wild grain-free food.

In addition to new equipment for bathing and grooming, Menze has a commercial bakery in the back of the shop for making treats for dogs and cats.

She went into baking, she said, because she knew a lot of pet treats weren't healthy.

"Pet food isn't regulated, and grains coming from out of the country are preserved with an antifreeze," she said. "By baking here, we can control the ingredients."

As for grooming, Menze said she uses the same all-natural shampoos and conditioners on both pet and show dogs and cats.

Prices depend on the size, condition and type of grooming, Menze said. Cat grooming ranges from $45 to $100. Dog grooming ranges from $25 for a chihuahua-sized dog to $125 every two weeks to maintain a Bouvier des Flandres (herding dog weighing up to 120 pounds) in show coat.

Tanya Snow of Largo shops at Garden Gate and takes her black Lab, Chief, to Menze for grooming. She noticed the shops a month ago.

"Kay is helping me look for a wardrobe for the living room, and Chief will be getting groomed once a month," Snow said. "They're my new best friends."

Davis said she enjoys helping customers with the look they're trying to achieve in their homes. She buys from estates, individuals and other dealers. The shop offers vintage furniture in coastal and cottage styles, new furniture, garden furniture, wall art, table top fountains, clocks and gifts.

Prices range from $2.99 for decorative magnets to $299 for a corner armoire in cherry wood.

Davis said she is happy with the store.

"I feel the customers will tell me the way it should go," she said.

"When I first opened, so much was vintage. Some customers really like vintage but others are buying new things, so I have more of that now."

Garden Gate Home Décor

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Information: Call (727) 330-7829.

Unleashed Pet Spa

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and early morning dropoffs. Closed Sunday.

Information: Call (727) 581-2275.

Mother, daughter work side by side in home decor store, pet grooming 11/13/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 13, 2010 3:30am]
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