The Straight Poop: Finan McDonald Clothing Company

By Drake the Dog
Reader Pet Columnist

Where am I taking my humans today?

The Finan crew, from left to right: Sue Haynes, Brittany Smith, Leslie Wahlin and Ranel Hanson.

I’m standing on the corner in a blizzard with the Mister watching all the girls go by while the Missus is inside an amazing dog- friendly shop trying to find a gift, a little treat for herself. The team inside is yapping with her about everything under the sun, while the two of us are getting pelted with snow. The owner tells her to bring in the boys … so here we go!

•This place made its first appearance in Sandpoint about 30 years ago in a basement shop in Gunning’s Alley.

•The six-foot, five-inch namesake of this place was a wild redheaded Scotsman.

•Back in his day, the average height of a man was just over five feet.

•He was one of the first Europeans to explore the area.

•He set up and ran many trading posts in the Northwest and British Columbia.

•His traveling buddy and fellow trapper, David Thompson, has a statue by a bank downtown.

•He was Idaho’s FIRST retailer!

•Everyone who works here loves dogs, especially the owner.

My comedy club buddy offered one more clue, “Where do dogs go when they lose a tail? A retail store.” Good one!

We’re raising the woof and laying down the paw at Finan McDonald’s Clothing Company, located at 201 North First Ave. I’m taking a bow-wow to owners Ben Tate, his wife Rhonda, and the paw-some team that greets us. It’s like the pup-a-razzi is here. Everyone is passing the leash scrambling to show us the new expansion and all of the good stuff this place has to offer.  I’m licking it up, especially now that they have showed me where they keep the treat stash.

As I look around, I’ll be dog gone! This new canine cabana (I wish), aka a small town department store, boasts natural fiber clothing with an outdoorsy look, footwear, accessories, skivvies, travel gear, outdoor workout and seasonal active lifestyle wear, for men, women and children. Pampered pets and humans love these brands: Patagonia, Prana, Tommy Bahama, Smartwool, North Face, Hydro Flask, Dansko, Ugg, Merrell, Earth, Hobo, Johnny Was, PJ Salvage, Exofficio, Borne, Kuhl, True Grit, Columbia, Sorel, Kut from the Kloth, Eagle Creek and Old Guys Rule. If your size is not available, the team will gladly order it for you. The Missus found a shirt with a dog that looks like me sitting next to a glass of red wine from Life is Good. And I scored with a birthday gift for my dog mom: a PJ Salvage fleece top patterned with every dog breed imaginable. Just call me Mr. Pawsome to Awesome when I shop local!

Ben and Rhonda just returned from market. They were focusing on finding the paw-fect inventory for Sandpointians and tourists. Rumor has it that they will even be stocking men’s size small this season. The Mister will be so excited! And their two King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, Charley and Ruby, always keep a close eye on the bow -wow-wow-yippie-yo-yippie-yeah team.

Sue Haynes, chief bookkeeper, is the glue that holds this group together. Other pack members include: Brittany Smith, dog mom to Border collie Taylor and a cute Miniature Pincher, Chloe; Leslie Wahlin, fur mamma to a Schnoodle named Greata and a Toy Poodle, Gunner. These two told me they would never be shop dogs. On the other paw, Joey (Ben’s son) has a Golden Retriever, Rex, who comes to the store regularly, lies on the floor and doesn’t want to leave. And, Ben’s sister-in-law Ranel Hanson is dog mom to Hallie, a Shiatsu Poodle Mix.

Be sure to include Finan McDonald’s on your downtown stroll. Ben and the gang will welcome you and your hoomans with open paws. Can’t decide what to get that special someone? Gift cards are available in any amount.

Dog Rules:

1. Leashes and best behavior please.

2. Lift your leg before entering the store.

3. Licking the goods is not permitted.

4. Four-footed fashion aficionados welcome.

5. Hone your tricks, as there are plenty of treats for good ones, especially those that make Ben smile!

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