In a family-run jewelry boutique on Metairie Road, a lively orange-and-white Brittany spaniel runs to greet customers at the sound of the door jingle. As official greeter for Hiller Jewelry (923 Metairie Road, Metairie, 837-8200; www.hillerjewelry.com), Lady "must look cute, and she must wag her tail," says owner Joe Biderman.
Hiller Jewelry was founded in 1918 by Alphonse Hiller as a primarily wholesale jewelry store. Now run by Biderman, his wife Joan, daughter Lisa and sister-in-law Patti Lensfield, the store has become retail oriented. The Biderman family got Lady 11 years ago from an Ohio breeder while searching for a dog that resembled an older family pooch.
While she resides with Joe and Joan Biderman, Lady is definitely a family dog. "We all share her," says Lisa Biderman. Lady's daily routine consists of waking up at home and commuting to the store with Joe. "She runs in the store very excited to be here," Lisa says. Lady then takes her place behind Lisa's desk to lie down and relax — until she hears the door jingle.
"She'll greet people walking through the doors (with) a sweet little nudge, and then go back and take her little spot in the office," Lisa says. Lady also loves getting customers to play ball. Her ball with a bell inside is the object of her affection, Lisa says. Lady will often drop it at customers' feet and wait for them to toss it back, and this playful side also reveals itself in her affinity for children. Lady is great with kids. "She's our built-in babysitter," Joe says. However, Lady does more than play around with customers. She is also known to help close sales by nudging at shoppers who are making crucial decisions.
Some customers come by just to say hi to Lady. When she's not around, they ask about her. It's not hard to see why. "She is very gentle and very sweet," Lisa says. "She can gauge whether someone's into her or not. She rarely barks, never bites. She's just a lover."
Despite its beginnings as a very private business, the store has now become more about family. "Which is ... why we bring [Lady]," Lisa says. "Our customers really like that they're in a warm inviting space, and they know that she'll be here."
My favorite things:
• Greeting customers
• My squeaky football