Services at Cooper’s Cutz, a pet grooming salon in the Mexican War Streets, are tailored to the needs of the neighborhood.

By Nick Eustis

The Northside business community has expanded noticeably in the past couple of years. New restaurants, retail spaces, and markets have all opened as the neighborhood experiences a boom in entrepreneurship.

Pet grooming salon Cooper’s Cutz became a recent addition to the community when it opened its doors in December of 2018. Mexican War Streets residents and owners, Sena Templeton and Keith Stroup, wanted to provide their community with a local service.

“We are dog owners, we have Cooper and another dog [Daisy], and there was nowhere to take them to get groomed that was convenient,” said Templeton.

Sena Templeton, co-owner of Cooper’s Cutz in the Mexican War Streets, pictured with Murphy, the salon’s very first customer. Photo courtesy of Cooper’s Cutz

Templeton, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) during the day, had a long-standing desire to own a business catering to dog lovers and owners.

“It’s been a dream of hers for a long time,” Stroup said. “Ever since I met [her], she’s wanted to open some kind of business that had to do with dogs.”

A self-described “crazy dog lady,” Templeton designed Cooper’s Cutz with her own furry friends in mind.

“I designed the business around what I would want for my dogs,” Templeton said.
Templeton and Stroup became passionate about the importance of good grooming when they adopted their first dog, Cooper, the salon’s namesake. They rescued Cooper from the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society after the poodle mix was abandoned by his original owner and found in miserable condition.

Cooper, the salon’s namesake, was rescued from the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. Photo courtesy of Cooper’s Cutz

“We thought he was six years old because he could barely move because of all the [matted fur],” said Stroup. “The first time we got him groomed, we found out he was an 18-month old puppy, and he just came to life. That’s how we realized how important it is to have good quality care for your dog, especially if it’s a poodle or a doodle.”

As part of their commitment to quality care, they’ve tailored their services to the needs of the neighborhood. Cooper’s provides self-service tubs for washing dogs who play off-leash at the nearby Allegheny Commons Park. These tubs are also ideal for large, short-haired dogs, who can be hard to bathe at home, especially in an older bathtub.

“People can just leave the mess here and we take care of it,” Templeton said.

Cooper’s Cutz provides self-service bathtubs, which are ideal for large, short-haired dogs who can be difficult to bathe at home. Photo courtesy of Cooper’s Cutz

Cooper’s also takes full grooming sessions by appointment. Stylist Jessica Humphries emphasizes a comforting and low-stress environment for Cooper’s canine clients.

“We’re big on letting them play and make them feel comfortable,” said Humphries. “It’s not just about the groom, it’s about the whole experience. I think [the owners] do a really good job with that here.”

Many dog owners are also residents of the Mexican War Streets and can walk their pets straight from their homes to the salon.

“Not dealing with the stress of getting your dog in the car or parking when you get there, that was really the focus,” said Templeton. “The neighborhood is really my main concern.”

After a successful first five months of business, Cooper’s is looking toward the future and working on partnerships with other dog-oriented businesses. Even as they expand, though, Cooper’s Cutz remains dedicated to the well-being of their favorite animals, like Cooper.

Cooper’s Cutz is located at 1534 Buena Vista Street. They are open for grooming and nails appointments seven days a week by appointment only: Call 412-586-4337 to schedule. Self-service bathing hours are Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.