A 9-week-old puppy scurried across a shop floor, looking smaller in size as racks of designer labels towered above him.
Both the rescued pup and new boutique are things Hilary Arthur has wanted for a long time.
"This is my dream," she said.
At Arthur & Daughters, her new shop at 49 N. Beaver St. in York City, the fashion industry veteran combines the loves of her life:
The second half of her business name refers to her daughters Violet, 4, and Eleanor, 2.
A couch in the store was brought from the 200-year-old home she shares with her husband, a WellSpan physician, their children and new terrier-pug-bulldog mix, Rufus.
And the merchandise reflects a lifelong love of fashion and the 14 years she worked as a senior account executive for Calvin Klein Collection in New York City. Lining the racks and shelves are well-known names like Escada, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Diane von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, Christian Lacroix and Manolo Blahnik - labels that would sell for thousands at retail stores, but are priced at $25 to $300 at Arthur & Daughters.
But Arthur, who moved from Brooklyn to York two years ago to be closer to her Springettsbury Township roots, also believes in buying local.
Among high-quality silks and leathers are green hooded sweatshirts bearing the logo of The York Water Company.
Arthur saw water company CEO Jeff Hines wearing the shirt at a local event and knew she wanted it in her store immediately.
"It was so fun, and all the proceeds go to the water company's two charities," she said.
Those charities are the Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County, which Hines said protects the company's source water supply, and Water for People, which helps to provide tap water to areas of the developing world.
Hines said it's the first time company shirts have been sold in a store.
"I'm quite incredulous people want to buy this thing," he joked. "I'm an engineer by education, and I'm surprised to learn these sweatshirts can be used for fashion, not just function."
Names in the store that may not be as well known to Yorkers are Lobo Mau and Carolina K.
The Lobo Mau line is made by Philadelphia designer Nicole Haddad, who pairs with Philadelphia artists to make the prints for her clothes. Her Lobo Mau line is completely made in Pennsylvania, Arthur said.
The Carolina K. line is made in South America by a fair-trade designer.
In the summer, Arthur & Daughters will begin carrying girls' clothes made by The Bees, a group of York women who formed a sewing circle and often use recycled materials, and in the fall it will sell plus-size fashion from a Philadelphia designer.
"It's important to support the local economy. It's a part of my business I'm hoping to grow," Arthur said.
Before she had a storefront, Arthur operated an online consignment for designer clothes and hosted a pop-up shop at Park Street Pantry during special events in the city.
"Customers really like her stuff. She has something nobody else around here has," said Beth Bulik, co-owner of Park Street Pantry, 24 N. Beaver St. "There are other people who have vintage, but she has couture."
Bulik described Arthur's items as "high end, but not ridiculously expensive."
"It's great to have her on the street. Just walking past her window you can see everything is absolutely gorgeous," she said.
Arthur & Daughters moved into the space formerly occupied by Frog & Bee, a shop that opened last spring and was closed by the end of last year.
Chad Myers, downtown business development liaison for Downtown Inc, said Arthur's years of experience in New York City will help her succeed in York City.
"It's a smaller city with a smaller population, but her experience alone will help her identify what works and what doesn't, and what customers want," he said.
It also helps that she's on the most coveted street downtown.
"Beaver Street is where things got started in the retail district. West Philadelphia (Street) is now a part of it, and we're starting to a get a restaurant row on North George (Street), but Beaver Street gets the most foot traffic," Myers said.
Arthur's business also fits in with the theme of Beaver Street, he said.
"Beaver Street is very artsy, and high fashion is art. Arthur & Daughters definitely fits in with that theme," Myers said.
- Candy Woodall can also be reached at email@example.com.