3610 Falls Road / 410-366-1133 / / Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday

After two years of working in a large marketing firm and living in New York City, Kimberly L. Jackson returned to the slightly slower pace of her native Baltimore, intent on finding a job that would allow her to be with her dog all day.

Knowing only one boss who would allow such a thing, she went to work for herself -- opening an upscale doggie boutique, Uptown Dog, last month in Hampden.

Sophie, her three-year-old Maltese, was at Jackson's side when she headed to New York "to live that whole Sex and the City dream of paying too much for a small apartment. Two years of that was plenty," she said. "It was time to come back.

"I really wanted to do something where I could be with my dog all day. I just couldn't leave her. ... She is my life. It's all about Sophie."

Uptown Dog bills itself as "a unique boutique for dogs, cats and their humans." It sells high-end dog and cat accessories -- from "Sexy Beast" dog cologne, to "Sleeps With Dogs" T-shirts to human jewelry with dog themes from the "Fine Arf Collection," also carried by Neiman-Marcus.

Jackson, who grew up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Baltimore and went to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, opened the shop June 8, on Hon Fest weekend.

Quickly, she found that, with a national boom in pet merchandise under way, getting and keeping some items in stock can be difficult.

"The pet market has really picked up. Most vendors just said, 'Get in line.'" When she tried to order "Doggles" -- sports goggles for dogs -- "I couldn't even get their attention to place an order," she said. "They're swamped."

That the dogs, and dog fashion, are hot can be seen in the decision to hold an annual pet fashion week in New York City -- just like regular fashion week, but for dogs, and complete with runway shows, Jackson said. Last month, she was called upon to outfit and accessorize seven dogs at the nearby Maryland SPCA for a show in connection with a "Take Your Dog to Work Day" event held there. She emceed the show as well.

Uptown Dog specializes in "unique and high-end items," Jackson said. "I don't want to compete with the Petcos."

It is on Falls Road just north of The Avenue -- on a block that Jackson says "has been ignored for a long time. The common wisdom is people can't make it here."

But several other new shops have opened and, with dog walkers passing by on the way to the corner park -- many of them in need of accessories, fashion or otherwise -- she predicts both her business and the block have a robust future.

Know of an interesting shop that's just opened in your neighborhood? Let us know. Send a note to liz.atwood@balt

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