As I walked through the front door to Posh Dogs Boutique, 1607 S. Main St., a fellow behind the counter looked up from his computer and recognized me.

“Wow, I was just sending you an email about our shop,” said Jeff Starkweather, former athletic director for the Joplin School District. After pondering just a moment on the extraordinary improbability that I would walk through the front door as he was sending an email to me, we got down to business with regard to this new shop on Joplin’s Main Street.

Starkweather told me his wife, Kelli, gets all of the credit.

“This has been her dream for about 10 years,” he said. “She has been collecting these tables and displays with the dream of hopefully opening this boutique some day. We walked into this place, saw it and knew this was it. What she has done with it is amazing.”

You know, you can’t have a boutique without chandeliers. Starkweather said his wife bought several of them, painted them gold and installed them to illuminate the interior of her shop. You can’t help but notice them as you drive by the shop at night. The Starkweathers applied some fresh paint to the walls and to the shop’s original metal ceiling to tastefully blend the old with the new. On one wall they have painted a sign that reflects the boutique’s theme: “For the love of dogs.”

For Kelli Starkweather, it started when Milla, a black Brussels griffon, came into her life.

“When I got Milla, I had this flood of ideas for dogs. I was dreaming of a Disneyland for dogs,” she said. “I had to tone it down because that was out of my price range. But you can always dream.”

Looking for stocking stuffers for your dog? You can find them here. The shop has all kinds of gear, including leashes and reflective clothing for your dog for nighttime walks. This shop has Carhartt outerwear for working farm dogs. You can also get shampoos and conditioners and dog food.

Shop hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Friendly, leashed pets are welcome.

New bakery

A new custom cake and dessert bakery has opened in Webb City, but those in the know have been ordering cakes and desserts from Stephanie Alburty and her mother, Gina Monson, for years.

Alburty and Monson have opened Lynne’s Artsy Bakery in a storefront at 1505 S. Madison St. For the past four to five years, this team has operated from a home-based commercial kitchen. That kitchen has been moved to the new storefront, and some things have been added to improve production, including a double-stack oven and an 80-quart mixer that dates to the 1940s.

Alburty likes to do the baking, while her mother is the expert at decorating, a skill she acquired over the course of 30 years. Their shop specializes in cakes, macarons, cookies, truffles, brownies and cupcakes.

A batch of perfectly sculpted chocolate cupcakes on display reminded me of the cupcakes that were once available from Cupcakes by Liz on South Main Street in Joplin. Both Alburty and Monson said they were aware of Liz Easton’s work with cupcakes and were truly flattered to have their work compared to Easton’s.

Shop hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Back to the start

Wayne Heath, who is semiretired, has opened the Heath III Barber Shop in a building at 1056 S. Main St. For Heath, he is returning to a storefront where he operated a barber shop in 2003. Heath, who is a veteran, said he got the idea of coming back to the storefront when he took his grandson to the Veterans Day parade on Nov. 11 and stood in front of the shop to watch the parade.

After the parade, Heath said he contacted the owner of the building, Bob Hoag, about whether it was available. He leased the property, which was constructed in 1946 and has been vacant for years, and with some help from friends and family over the course of a month fixed it up to become a one-chair barber shop again. Heath comes from a long line of barbers and hairstylists that goes back 60 years.

I noticed that Heath does not have a barber’s pole on the front of his shop.

“They cost an arm and a leg now. I’m looking for one I can afford,” he said.

Wally Kennedy is a reporter and columnist for The Joplin Globe.

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