From the Historian: Dog grooming shop had many lives

Bill Poray

It is possible to find some history in the smallest of places. A case in point is Grooming by Jaime, a dog beautifying business at 57 S. Main St. in Fairport. It is a freestanding building, no bigger than a small garage, located behind commercial buildings just north of Pleasant Street.

Charles J. DeLand (1816-90) was one of 11 siblings, two of which were Daniel and Henry DeLand, well known for their stewardship of Fairport’s historic DeLand factory. Charles and his wife, Mary Nelson DeLand, lived for many years in a home where 57 S. Main St. is found today. He was a baker and operated a grocery store, and for a time was Fairport’s postmaster. Theirs was one of several mid-19th century homes along the east side of South Main Street, between Pleasant Street and the canal.

Frances, a daughter of Charles and Mary DeLand, married William Sproul in 1886. She was a teacher and he worked as a carriage painter. Soon, they gained ownership of the home in which she was raised, the same house where they exchanged wedding vows. The couple’s marriage was not an everlasting one, and after their divorce the house was sold in 1903 to retired Egypt farmer E.C. Bowerman and his wife, Helen. The Bowermans sold to George and Lottie Esten in April 1915. They previously lived on East Avenue on the village’s north side, where he operated a part-time business creating gravestones for local residents.

George Esten immediately assembled a small wooden building at the rear of the lot to use as his shop. The G.W. Esten Granite Company became his full-time vocation, and the small yard between the house and the shop was used to display gravestones for prospective customers. After operating the company at this location for 12 years, Esten sold the business to Howard Pybus. By 1940, Puybus moved the business and the gravestones were removed.

In the 1950s, the Brunell family purchased the property. They added a large concrete storefront to the house and opened a dry cleaning business, which operated for many years at the location. The former gravestone shop at the back of the lot was used in the dry cleaning business.

Not so long ago, Jerry Williams ran a popular frame shop in the little building where names and dates were once applied to blank gravestones. Most recently, the 106-year-old shop with the complicated past has come to life once again. Customers include Chihuahuas, Great Danes and everything in between, who stop by Grooming by Jaime, in a place where names and dates were once chiseled into granite. Today’s customers are much livelier and are in need of only a bit of tender loving care.

Bill Poray is historian for the town of Perinton.

Gravestones occupy the small yard between the house and shop in the late 1930s.