Going to the Dogs…Happily

Posted on 11.09.13 – Insider, Lifestyles

Two paws up new owner, Kevin Moriarty , refers to it as “taking the leash.” For Alison Levitt, founder of the Downtown pet store, selling the business that opened in 2004 is “like I gave birth, raised it, and now it’s going to grad school.”

The store, located at 15 S. Carroll St., changed hands on Oct. 1 when Levitt turned her full attention to production of Bare Bites and Brew Bites, all-natural, locally made dog treats already being sold in 16 states. Moriarity, a loyal customer who thought nothing of driving 60 miles round-trip to shop for his three dogs at Two Paw’s Up, is considered by Levitt as a worthy successor. “A lot of businesses just close when they’re done with it,” she says, gratified that she was able to sell to a friend—someone who loves the store as much as she does and “will make his own traditions … not many business owners can say they’re thrilled about who took over their business.”

“This is a dream come true,” says Moriarty, apologizing before quipping, “It’s proof that an old dog can learn new tricks.” He grew up in a small town in Iowa and says, “One of the joys of being a Main Street merchant is putting the flag out, watering the flowers and sweeping the sidewalk before you open your doors.”

Levitt also sings the praises of being in a downtown setting. “I couldn’t have done it without the support of the other merchants and the Frederick Downtown Partnership.” She also credits a string of “amazing employees,” some of whom were there from the start, and “customers that I know their first names and their dogs’ names. It’s amazing how loving this community is.” Levitt says she is most proud of helping to make Downtown dog-friendly. Many of the stores have water dishes outside their doors, provided by Two Paws Up, and when “Dog Days” is celebrated as a First Saturday theme each year, the pet store is front and center. Even without the added activity, the two-story building that’s painted in whimsical, bright colors and has a pink-and-green dog house and three-tiered water fountain out front stands apart on a street of typical brick storefronts. Levitt looks around at the creation she’s leaving, even though her new business is in a warehouse just around the corner. “Doesn’t this place make you happy just looking at it?” she asks.