OCEAN CITY — In the last three years, Janilyn Elias and Jeff Fetterman have filled in The Village of Fenwick with a couple of shops that go against the grain of a traditional pet and book store.
Elias and Fetterman, opened Petique in the Village of Fenwick in spring of 2010. At the time, it was named Indulgence until they opened their second shop in the village, The Bookend Café, the following year.
Indulgence offered merchandise for pets and people alike but it evolved into just a pet store, or a boutique for pets, hence the name Petique.
They now offer a variety of merchandise for pets and their owners, especially breed specific items. Beside the typical dog toys, collars and leashes, there is also stationary, coffee cups, wall art, T-shirts, magnets, and even wine accessories in many different themes to fit a pet and its owner’s needs.
“One of the things new this year is we try to include a lot harder to find breeds, designer breeds, because everybody wants to see their pet on something, both dogs and cats, and so we really wanted to try and make that happen,” Fetterman said.
While Elias and Fetterman had their first location, they noticed many people walking their dogs early in the morning with coffee cups in their hands passing by the village. By the end of their first summer, they noticed another niche that needed to be filled in the shopping center and that was a used book store.
“So that fall, 2010, we bit the bullet,” Elias said. “Someone could really do it and that someone was us.”
The Bookend Café was originally two stores but they knocked down a wall to create a spacious café that specialized in used books with the addition of a variety of gift products.
“We always try to look at our store in thirds,” Elias said. “Books, gifts and coffee, and that is what comes in. In the morning you get your coffee, mid-morning you get books, and then after dinner their gift shopping. You see that third happen throughout the day.”
The Bookend Café does not reflect the traditional used book store. It contains at least 10,000 books and aims to allow customers to easily browse, pick a book and get to the beach in that order.
“We wanted to have an open feeling so you can easily walk around, very well lit, very organized, and people can find what they want quickly because let’s be honest people walk around book stores browsing and then there is a lot of people that just want to get to the beach so we wanted to meet both needs,” Fetterman said.
Elias and Fetterman chose to specialize in used books since visitors are usually looking for a beach read where it can be weathered down and not break the bank. They acquire their collection by working with book brokers and attending estate sales as well customer donations.
Besides used books, The Bookend Café has taken on new popular reads.
“It is against our model but we understand that there are no new book stores now in the area,” Elias said.
As for the café, they offer everything from hot brewed coffee, hot tea, espresso, cappuccino, café latte, chai latte, iced coffee, fruit smoothies, frozen café frappe and more. The drink menu is paired with a food and bakery menu and hot breakfast sandwiches and wraps were added just this summer.
“Our whole model is you can certainly eat it here, we have tables inside and outside, but if want to get to the beach you can grab and go,” Fetterman said.
Also, every day the café has a featured drink that is posted on their website and Facebook page. Currently drinks of the day have included Rocky Road Latte, Black Forest Cake coffee and Apple Pie Latte.
“We like to have fun and look for new and exciting things to add,” Fetterman said.
The Bookend Café offers wireless Internet access for customers along with quiet corners throughout the store to take some time to catch up on some work.
“We do have a lot of people on vacation who are taking classes or just need to check in with work so they will come in for maybe an hour or two a day before the beach or after the beach and hop online and have an ice tea while they are hanging out,” Fetterman said.
Business doesn’t quit for The Bookend Café once the morning crowd has come and gone. The business is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week and Elias and Fetterman couldn’t be happier with business so far this summer.
“It is our second summer with The Bookend Café and our third summer with the pet store and it’s going very well, and already word of mouth has definitely gotten out,” Elias said. “We love to see returning customers from last year.”
Besides keeping up with business, the stores hold events, such as pet adoptions to support local animal shelters and book signings at the book shop as well as every other Sunday they hold a “barkfest” where they cook up pet friendly breakfasts for free.
“We are outside cooking pancakes in the shape of bones so bring your dogs for some free food,” Elias said.
Elias explained that she has shopped with her family at The Village of Fenwick for 20 years and has always loved the atmosphere but as pet stores and book stores became rare to find in the area she wanted to fill that empty space.
“Our goal has been, specifically here, is to be a good vacation spot, and make it destination where you can get a lot of different things,” she said. “We want to be that corner coffee shop where people come in and we get to know their families … and we love that.”