Nicole Salerno always wanted her own business, she just wasn't sure what business that would be. She had studied entrepreneurship and knew she should do what she loved. But, she thought, what is it I love?
"I love my dog," she said of her 5-year-old Rottweiler, Dakota Puffin, whose large photo hangs in the store. "I'm completely obsessed with her, actually."
So Salerno quit her job in finance and signed the lease to the space recently vacated by Cibeline, at 120 Charles St.
Three weeks later she opened the store named after her dog. It sells all manner of dog products, from scented doggie bags to canine breath freshener, and specializes in items for big dogs. Salerno, who lives on Garden Street, had been going to the Newbury Street dog stores to find tougher toys for her dog.
"Preppy Paws is really great but we needed something for the rougher-playing dogs," Salerno said. "It thought Beacon Hill needed a little variety."
She noted that there are several thriving dog boutiques on Newbury Street. The idea with her Charles Street store was not to take business away from Four Preppy Paws but to add to business, she said.
Salerno tries to get many of her products from small companies based in Massachusetts or New England, and favors organic and biodegradable goods, sometimes made with recyclable material.
In keeping with having a locally based store, all of the photographs hanging in Dakota Puffin Dog Boutique are of Boston dogs. And there's room for one more: Salerno will be running an opening promotion in which the lucky winner will have a large photo of their dog hung in the store. To enter, become a fan of the store on Facebook and upload a photo with the dog's name followed by "opening promotion" as the header.