Some Groomers Are Back in Business but Challenges Remain
After weeks of putting pet grooming services on pause due to varying stay-at-home orders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, groomers in several states are back in business. However, while business owners have been given the green light to welcome grooming clients back after services were deemed non-essential, many are still adjusting to a new normal and protocols.
Christina Wagner, owner of Diamond Dog Pet Salon & Spa in Oklahoma City, was thrilled when she received the governor’s OK to reopen her salon, after closing her doors from March 25-April 24.
“My whole staff was eager to get back to work, myself included,” Wagner said. “It’s nice to have some kind of normality again.”
While Diamond Dog Pet Salon & Spa is back in business, the pace, Wagner said, isn’t the same.
“We are now playing catch up and working long hours and weekends to help as many fur babies as possible,” she said. “I suppose it will be a few months before we are back on track … I knew we were going to be busy, but I never thought it would be this busy. With six full time groomers, we are four weeks booked out. We can’t thank our customers enough for waiting for us to open.”
Platinum Paws in Carmel, Ind., which temporarily closed grooming services from March 27-April 21, also felt the impact of the closure after reopening, said partner B.C. Henschen.
“Literally the second our governor announced that pet grooming operations could resume, our phones started ringing nonstop and has continued to ring,” Henschen said. “Our business does not accept new clients, as we are booked for the year with our existing client base, so most of our appointments will remain untouched.”
Pet owners who missed their appointments during the closed period will be able to pick up their next scheduled appointment, Henschen said.
“While this has made no change on our appointments and schedule, it has caused the groomers to be busier and to work longer hours because the dogs that are coming in that missed appointments are requiring more time and work than what they would normally,” Henschen added.
For Jane Honnor, owner at PawParazzi Pet Boutique in Richmond Hill, Ga., whose grooming business was shut down from April 3-20, one of the biggest challenges of reopening her salon has been the safety measures she’s had to put in place to keep her staff safe and the impact its had on her clients.
“The phone does not stop ringing,” she said. “Clients are starting to get annoyed now that we don’t have any availability, but with three groomers down and catch up from two weeks closed, there is nothing I can do.”
While Honnor usually has seven groomers on staff, she can only have four on site due to social distancing, she added.
“I feel this is going to last for months,” Honnor said. “None of us can tell when it will be safe to stop the social distancing, and only when this happens can I have a safe working environment. My grooming salon is the size it needs to be for seven groomers. Without seven, it is going to be a huge financial strain on the company. I cannot run the grooming indefinitely socially distancing my staff. I have enough clients, just no space to groom them.”
In addition to social distancing, grooming salons are implementing and/or enhancing other safety procedures. This includes wearing masks, setting up a contactless drop off and pickup area, ramping up cleaning operations, limiting the amount of people in retail sections to allow for proper social distancing as well as offering curbside pickup for those customers needing pet food, toys and other goods, according to industry insiders.
If this were to happen again, Wagner said that she hopes that the government would consider pet grooming an essential business.
“We provide more to a pet than just giving it a haircut,” Wagner said.
“The grooming industry should have been classed as essential,” Honnor said. “Even with two weeks closed, we are seeing dogs in a poor state.