Mr. Charlie’s – from our Downtown Dexter Issue (Oct 16)

Oct 31, 2014

Photo  – Charlie and Charlie (not sure which one is which)

Charles West has been in downtown Dexter for a long time. He now operates “Mr. Charlie’s” at 22 East Stoddard Street.

“I’ve operated a store downtown for 40 years,” explained West. For many years, he had stores in both Dexter and Malden. At one time he had both a furniture and shoe store.

“Then I retired, or at least thought I’d retire,” said West. But, once again, he was drawn back to downtown Dexter. He said it’s a hard habit to break.

“Downtown Dexter has gone through a lot of stages over the years,” said West. It’s had boom times and then times when things weren’t looking so great. But it has always managed to survive, and now, he said, it is actually thriving.

“It’s the unique stores we have, and the way we work together,” he explained. “That is what gives us a sense of community. We’re like a big family. We help each other. We watch out for each other. And we support each other.”

He admits that is hard to find these days.

If you tell someone you are going downtown to see Charlie, they might ask you, “Which Charlie?” They mean, “Charlie? Or Charlie’s dog, also named Charlie?”

West admits his dog, Charlie, is more famous than he is. That’s because Charlie is an unusual dog. He can count. He can add. He follows every command West gives him with a gleeful wag of his tail.

Charlie was a shelter dog, a unique combination of Chihuahua and Boston Terrier.

“He was only eight weeks old when I got him. Charlie won me over right away,” recalled West with a smile.

Now Charlie, 11 months old, and his not-so-old owner, Mr. Charlie, are both bona fide stars of downtown Dexter.