Master and Commander: Oslo and owner John McDowell (or should we say "John McDowell and owner Oslo"?)

One thing you’ll find at the Queen Anne men’s shop Oslo’s that you probably won’t find elsewhere: A golden retriever running the show. Another thing: An in-house barber shop. Another: Owner John McDowell, Jr.

WWW: What’s your personal spin on the ubiquitous “How can I help you?” question?
McDowell: In our early days, one of our salespeople used to ask everyone: “What brings you out and about today?” It became pretty comical after a bit. But seriously, Oslo (the shop dog) is always running up to greet customers, sniffing to see if they’ve got treats, so if the customer calls Oslo by name we know they’ve been in before and if they ask “Who is this?” it opens a whole different approach to talking with a customer before they actually start looking at the merchandise.

What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
We’ve got a great 5 pocket twill pant with 3% stretch in an olive and dark grey with a nice tapered leg by Vince. These pants look great on everyone.

Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
Cole Haan and UnderU4Men, two shops where I seem to always make a purchase. When traveling, I always will go to Saks Fifth Ave — I worked there when I was a teenager and they just have always been an icon for me.

What specific store or type of store do you feel is missing from Seattle’s shopping scene?
It has been a shame to see all the shops in Seattle that have closed since the recession hit, our choices have become more limited and the talent and taste levels missing from some the shops that are no more have created a big void for stylish individuals. It is imperative that Seattleites continue to shop local.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
We only buy four to six pieces of any one item. So chances are you are the only one who has that shirt. One day, a customer came in wearing a shirt and told us how much he loved it and it was so unique, and I reiterated the notion of uniqueness, only four others were out there in Seattle. A minute later, another guy walked in with the same shirt in a different size that he bought at Oslo’s.