Gesturing toward a couple of canines cavorting in the backyard of his Pawfee Shop, owner Jeff Garvais smiled and observed, “I get to come to work every day where everyone’s happy.” That’s how the Beaverton resident characterized his change from a pressure-fraught corporate world of electronic sales to a more customer-oriented business. “In business school, the focus was on the bottom line and maximizing profits,” Garvais explained, “but here, I get a chance to satisfy customers and keep their pets happy all day.”
In January, Garvais and his partner, Marcelo Cruz, transformed the Nickel-Wise convenience store, which was also once a taco shack and service station, into a brightly painted coffee and doggie day care for which, Garvais said, many neighbors have expressed appreciation. “We removed three dumpsters of trash from this place, and the neighbors are very happy.”
At one point, Cruz, reminiscent of TV’s Caesar Milan, excused himself to patrol the puppies he deftly controlled with brief hissing sounds through his teeth. Dogs are cared for ($25 for all day and $15 for half a day) while their owners work. In the shop area, a breakfast/lunch menu of paninis and pastries are served, including gluten-free and vegan products from Petunia’s Pies and Pastries.
With an engineering background, Garvais is proud of one of his first projects, the espresso machine he rebuilt and still uses. “I’m always looking for another project; and when I first saw this property and the sad condition it was in, I knew this was something for me.” He said he’s been criticized by some for having taken on so much, but it’s worked out, and he’s happy with the result.
Garvais and Cruz plan to expand the current 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours as the weather turns warmer and to add Sunday barbeques. He’s also will file for a beer and wine license, but will still close earlier than most establishments in the area. “This neighborhood is a proud and comfortable one, and I’d like to see the Pawfee Shop become a regular community center,” Garvais said.
Situated close to a freeway entrance and on a bus line, Pawfee already sees lots of foot and auto traffic. “We’re already beginning to cultivate a bunch of regulars,” Garvais said, grinning.