One of Fit + Frisky's two resident felines
One of Fit + Frisky's two resident felines Credit: Eileen Meslar

Though Evanston Alderman Judy Fiske aims to equally represent her First Ward constituents, humans typically come in second at Fit + Frisky, the pet store she owns and operates with her husband, Jonathan.

After working in real estate for 20 years and losing her first bid for office in 2005, Fiske sought a way to stay connected within the community. She combined her affections for animal nutrition and rescue into a business model for a shop in Evanston’s downtown. Two years later, Fit + Frisky opened, eventually moving across the street and taking up permanent residency at 1017 Davis Street in 2010.

After opening the store, Fiske won her seat on the city council in 2009 and successfully defended it back in April to earn a second four-year term. She’s continued adopting and fostering cats and dogs during that time span, including Lily and Juniper, the spot’s resident felines, who can be found lounging in the front window. Juniper came from a feral cat colony in Evanston, Lily from the halls of Evanston Township High School.

Jonathan, a retired lawyer, most often mans the counter, though his wife jokes that he’s overqualified for the job. The walls of the store are lined with colorful bags of food, quirky pet toys, and photos of customers and their animals.

Fit + Frisky is more than a source of income for Fiske. It’s a way to keep her finger on the pulse of Evanston. “I’ve said to my colleagues on the council when I think they’re making a particularly stupid decision, ‘Come in here, sit down, spend an hour in my store, and listen to what people have to say.'” That is, if Flip, the vocal poodle Fiske rescued last year who’s often heard barking from behind the counter, will let anyone get a word in edgewise.