About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!!

Hi everyone.
I hope everyone had a fun and safe Holiday!!
I wish everyone a New Year full of many furry customers.

This post was inspired by gipsiwriter.
She will be putting together her own grooming salon very soon and wanted to see some pictures of my shop.

My current shop is my third location since I bought the business in 1987.

I bought my business from a groomer friend that I had helped open his shop 2 years before.
I worked for him a for a little over a year before I left.
The saying is very true..."don't work for a friend."
He was an unbearable boss to work for.
He had me in tears more times than I can remember.
Long story....

Anyway, a year after I left, he had run the business into the ground.
He wasn't a bad groomer, but his attitude made him lose almost all of his clientele.

One night he called me out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to buy his shop.
I had been trying to open my own place, but was having trouble finding landlords that would let me rent space for a grooming shop.
Even though the shop only had the bare bones and almost no clients left, I jumped at the opportunity to own my own shop.

The shopping center was run down and the landlord would not make any improvements.
Thankfully, it only took me a year to build the clientele back up.
My shop stayed at that location for about 10 years, then the rent went through the roof. 
I was not about to pay that kind of rent for a shopping center that was falling down around our heads.

I had just recently heard about a grooming shop a mile away that had been shut down by the county.
It was a smaller shop that had been there for over 30 years.
It had gone through a few different owners.
So we contacted the landlord.
They did not want to rent to me.
Apparently the shop space was in such bad shape that the landlord had to gut the entire space.
So much so that he had to actually remove the walls and put in new ones.
I never saw how bad it looked.

We asked the landlord to come take a look at our shop to see that we took care of the space.
We also had a great record with our current landlord.
They eventually agreed let us rent out the new space.

THe old shopping center...the one that was falling down on our heads...the one that we left 3 months earlier...
Burned to the ground.

I told my husband, as we watched the news report, I bet it turns out to be an electrical fire.
I was right.

The only thing was, I was going from a 1200 sq. ft. space to a 500 sq. ft. space.
At the time that worked for me.
I was not hiring, because I had become so discouraged hiring other groomers, so a small space worked for me.
We were there for a couple of years, then I closed the shop and went mobile.
That worked for about 9 months till I found myself unexpectedly pregnant.
I already had a boy and a girl, I thought we were done having children.

Anyway, after a lot of discussion, we called our old landlord.
We knew that the space was still available.
I opened my shop for the second time.

I must say that my customers were very understanding and stuck with me through all of this.

We groomed in the small shop for a year, but we needed to generate more income.
I could only groom so many dogs a day.
I did not want to go through hiring another groomer again.
We asked our landlord about a larger space so that we could add on a Self- Serve dog wash.

 So we moved our shop about 30 feet over.

I really like my landlord.
He let me design the layout.
He put down a new floor, put up the walls for the rooms that I wanted, and painted.

We did the rest.
Putting in the plumbing, the tubs, and front counter.

Best of all...I got a large front window!
(There were no windows in my 500 sq. ft. shop)

My main concern when designing my layout, was that the window was in the grooming room.
Everywhere I had groomed, I was always in a back room and never knew whether it was sunny or raining outside, until I left for the day.

I had 1000 sq. ft. to play with. :)

 This picture was taken looking out  of my grooming room door, towards the entrance.

I did not want, or need a large lobby.
My lobby can hold about 4 owners and their dogs at one time.
Since we only book two dogs each hour, the size of the lobby works well for us.

I do sell some collars, leashes, and dog cookies, but that is all.
We have a Petsmart down the street, and over the years I have noticed that most grooming customers think paying for the groom is enough and don't buy much retail.

I used to have a pretty, white wicker loveseat in my lobby.
Boy, did the dogs like peeing on that!
So, this past summer I bought some outdoor patio furniture to replace the poor loveseat.

I hate the cushions.
I will be replacing them with prettier ones this spring.

I decorated the walls with pictures of my customers dogs.

This series of pictures were take a few years ago to replace the originals that I had taken when we opened this new location.

The only problem is, all my new customers now are always asking when their dogs will be up on the walls.

I guess it is time to take more pictures.

 This is what the customer sees as they walk in the front door.

This picture was taken before I got rid of the wicker loveseat that you can see in the bottom left corner of the picture.

The white door at the back leads to a private room where my kids are home-schooled and play.
It is also where we make and can eat our lunch.

As you walk straight back through the gate, you walk into the Self-Serve.

We have four Self-Serve bays.

Each bay has a full size tub, HV dryer, comb, brush, apron, ear cleaner, and cologne.

On to the grooming room.

It is by no means state of the art.

I am hoping to get two new electric grooming tables this year.
I used one at Hershey this year while competing in creative.
I loved it.

This is my grooming station.

Right next to the window.

I have also had my grooming table in the middle of the room, next to my daughters table, but I always go back to the window.

This is the view from my grooming station.

Yes, the kennels are right across from our grooming tables.

I like being able to keep an eye on the dogs at all times.

My first shop had all of the kennels in the back of the shop with the tubs.

I did not like not being able to see the dogs, or having them in a room unsupervised, even if they were in kennels.

 Yes, I use Vari Kennels.

They are almost 30 years old and have held up great.
They are also easy to clean.
We use the #500 kennels for large dogs and the #400 (pictured) for the rest.
There is more than enough room for the dogs to move around and lay down.

The kennel that I groomed at for a short time used the stainless steel cages.
I did not like them.
Yes, they were very easy to clean out, but I noticed that a lot of the dogs did not like the banging of the metal when other dogs pawed at the doors or sides of the cage.
Also, the only ventilation was through the front door.

The pet store that I worked at had a mixture of the wire kennels and fiberglass cages.
I hated both of them.

The Vari Kennels work for me. :)

As you can see in the picture above, my bathing room is a room with-in a room.

I wanted the bathing room closed off from the main grooming room.
I didn't want all of that undercoat and shedding hair blowing out into the grooming room.

The glass door allows you to be able to see what is going on in the grooming room while you are bathing and drying a dog.

The door also drowns out the sound of the drier in the grooming room when someone is drying.

In my opinion, the bathing room is the hardest room to keep clean.

My shampoos are piled on my drying table to dry off after I sprayed them all down to get the hair off of them after a day of grooming.

I like using the full sized people tubs because they can fit any size dog.

I have had a Bull Mastiff and Great Dane  fit comfortably in this tub.

These tubs are also not as deep as the stainless steal tubs.

Those stainless steal tubs kill my back.

We used to use a regular grooming table as our drying table, but I did not like how some of the dogs would make it shake.

We had a table built that was snug to the walls.
It is very solid and does not move when we let some of the bigger dogs hop out of the tub right onto the table.

The dogs feel much more secure.

I also have a backboard on my drying table to bring the medium and smaller dogs closer to me, so I don't kill my back reaching for them as they curl up in the corner, or flatten themselves against the back wall.

There is also a shelf under the table for shampoos and stuff.
I have a shower curtain keeping the hair from getting into the stuff on the shelf...well, at least it helps a little.
Don't look too closely at it.
I need to replace it since a dog decided to put their foot through it.

Well, there it is.
My little grooming shop.

I hope that these pictures help you out gipsiwriter.
I love looking at pictures of other shops.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. What a lovely, well-designed shop :D Thanks for sharing!!! I always wondered what it looked like in there...

  2. Thanks Mittens!
    I would love to have a more posh, spa type shop. Maybe one day. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  3. Absolutely fabulous! I've been meaning to message you, I've been (after work) showing our bather your blogs. She loves your workspace divider, she wanted to know if you had any special instructions on how to make one. She's crazy about it, I am too.

  4. Thank you Serena,
    If by workspace divider you mean the backboard on our tables and in the tub, I have posted about them a couple of times.


    Copy and paste the link about. In that post I give step by step instructions on how I made my backboard for my grooming table.

    In the link below, I talked about and showed the backboard in the tub. I used sheet metel to cover the wood. It was hard. I have since then found out about a very thin sheet metel type that comes in a roll like wallpaper and looks alot easier to work with. I am not sure what it is called, but maybe someone at the hareware store could help.


    I hope this answered your question. If not message me again. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  5. THANK YOU! This helps so so so much. Every day I'm 'chasing' little dogs. It's so hard to keep them close to you, 5 years ago I stopped having my table away from the wall, I and my bather both HATE the idea of a table in the middle of the room, AND putting the dogs on a noose. Great plan... This is going to make a big difference for us, we both don't like using the loops but the little ones do scurry a bit. I use steel tables meant for a professional kitchen, mine is a really nice prep table, 3x4ft. It has shelves of solid steel underneath, which is great for cooling my blades. I used to use a marble tile, but I really love the steel, with a grooming mat on top of it. I really can't wait to make these, thanks again.

  6. I am glad I could help. My backboard has saved my back more time than I could say.