Oak Harbor’s Posh Puppies grooming salon has grown since opening in November of last year and shows no signs of slowing down.
This grooming salon prides itself on being able to offer personalized and customizable service, the years of experience of their dog groomers and their friendly and calming atmosphere that aims to put dogs and their owners at ease.
It seems their business practices have paid off, as Posh Puppies won two Best of Whidbey 2018 awards, first place for best kennel and best pet grooming.
âI love dogs,â owner Laura Thompson said. âI think the city really needed a place to go where they could treat their dog well and not like a number, but like a child. These are our babies.
It’s one thing that sets them apart from big companies, she said, and they get great feedback from owners every day.
The walls of the 2,600 square foot living room are painted a soothing blue-green color in sea foam, and images of happy dogs adorn the walls. All trimming and brushing takes place in the open air, where owners and visitors can watch their dogs being groomed on individual tables.
But first, in the back room of the living room, the bathers clean up the stench and grime that linger on their canine loads. Also in the back room is the ‘dog day care’ area, where dogs can roam in a parked area and socialize with other dogs. When they’re done, all of the dogs leave the living room with a bow or bandana – “something cute,” said Thompson.
The salon takes care of up to 40 dogs per day, which is around 30 on average, she said.
The services they offer include grooming, nail trimming, haircutting, doggy day care, nail painting and hair coloring. Some dog owners want their dogs dyed in crazy colors, like purple, blue or green, Thompson said, and Posh Puppies can oblige with their dog-safe hair coloring products.
For dogs, getting groomed can be a scary and intimidating experience, especially if they have never done it before. But Posh Puppies can put them at ease, Thompson said.
âSome of these dogs can’t get on a table, that makes them too nervous. They must be detained, âshe said. âIn a big company, they don’t allow that. But here we can. We can do whatever a dog needs to do it.
She said a couple had driven from Anacortes the day before in desperate hopes of having their dog’s nails trimmed after being kicked out of two pet chain businesses for being too scared. They were thrilled when Posh Puppies was able to get their dog comfortable enough to trim it safely, Thompson said.
Thompson is no stranger to business ownership. He’s also been running a hair salon called Posh Salon in Oak Harbor for six years. Thompson had intended to start a dog related business for a while, but waited for the idea in order to buy the Posh Puppies business from longtime grooming company, Corinne’s K-9 Cuts, when the owner was finally ready to sell.
Thompson is also the head of the Oak Harbor 4-H Kennel Club. She brings the kids to work from time to time and has the younger members groom the dogs, under the supervision of regular groomers. It’s a win-win: the 4-H club trains to work on animals and pet owners get a free groom.
His plans for the near future are to be open seven days a week, add a Sunday cat grooming service, and eventually hire more groomers and expand their puppy socialization and dog daycare options. .
When they started out, they had three groomers and two bathers. Today they have 10 workers in total.
When hiring workers for the salon, she looks for good customer service skills and a personality that will blend in well with other workers on the team, Thompson said. All groomers have dog show experience.
âI ended up with the most fabulous people of all time,â said Thompson.
âThey are so experienced,â she added. âYou can’t find this kind of experience just anywhere. I feel so lucky every day.
Groomer Reyna Hull-Walton said the best part of working at Posh Puppies is the team.
âWe have a very good team of people,â she said. “And I hang out with dogs every day.” Her favorite breed of dog to groom is a Shih Tzu or a Cocker Spaniel, she said.
For groomer Brian Black, there are two great things about working out at the salon.
âOne is the transformation when you bring in a dog, then it’s a full 180, it looks like a different dog. It’s always fun, âhe said. âAnd second, the connection you get with your customers. ”
Dogs have always been a part of Black’s life. He said he had always owned dogs and was in the 4-H club at a young age, eventually working as a professional dog handler and dog shower.
âWe have a lot of years of experience here,â he said. â(Owners) may feel comfortable dropping their dogs off with us because of the amount of experience we have. ”