Most dog groomers are in the business because it is their passion. They love working with pets and their owners. They love making a dog look and feel his best. It’s certainly not a luxurious job or one that earns a high level of appreciation, but to their clients a good dog groomer is like an extended family member.
Pet parents trust their groomers to care for their dog and do what is best for his overall health and well-being. That’s why Deb Lewis has been in the dog grooming industry for so long – she loves what she does. Grooming is her passion, and after 30 years in the business she’s created a long list of loyal customers.
For the last two years Lewis has been working as the manager and groomer at Hair She Blows. Her career as a dog groomer has been nothing short of interesting, but in the end it has worked out exactly the way that she hoped that it would. Hair She Blows, located in Glen Carbon, Illinois, shares a building with Kellerman Investigations. Owner Greg Kellerman had extra space in the building and was considering opening a dog grooming salon.
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Kellerman knew about Lewis through a friend and called to ask if she would be his manager and head groomer. At the time, Lewis had taken a year off from grooming and was working at a country club. She was ready to get back into the grooming field and graciously accepted Kellerman’s offer. Kellerman chose a nautical theme for the salon because he was previously in the Navy and the Coast Guard.
Through her extensive grooming career, Lewis had made many contacts and kept in touch with a lot of her regular clients who immediately began coming to Hair She Blows. Since opening two years ago, the business has continued to grow steadily. Lewis says they get about 7 to 10 new dogs each week! For a small dog grooming operation, that’s unbelievable!
It just goes to show that hard work and good customer service can certainly pay off if you ever decide to run your own business. Lewis may not own the building, but she runs the day to day operations and has brought a lot of business to the grooming salon via her past clientele. Lewis says the business has increased so much in the last two years they are planning on knocking out a wall and expanding in the near future.
January is typically their slowest month, so they plan to remodel the business then. Right now she says they are so busy that there is no way to keep up with the grooming demand and try to focus on the remodel at the same time. Lewis says that she and Kellerman have big goals. Within the next three years they would like to build an entirely new building in the empty lot that is next to their current location.
She also says that the new business will focus on dog grooming and training, as that is a needed service in their area. Although she does want to grow the business, she is also concerned about losing the personal touch that they provide now. She believes clients appreciate the personal connection, small size, and quiet atmosphere. It will be a challenge to provide all those things in a larger facility, but that’s her goal.
I agree with Lewis. I know that I would much rather do business with a small company where I receive personal attention and know the names of the people that are helping me. Obviously, there are times when you need to do business with larger corporations, but it certainly isn’t nearly as pleasant of an experience as when you can walk into a small business and they know you, your pet, and your personal preferences.