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WINLOCK — When Guy and Colleen Rose traded city life to take over a dog grooming business in Winlock, one of the biggest advantages they started with was taking over the past owner’s clientele. It was a much easier transition than building a business from the ground up.
That was February 2019, after Guy spent 10 years working in the dog grooming business.
He started his career as a dog bather for 2 ½ years at a big corporation. He moved up the ranks and began running salons when corporate noticed he was improving sales. Eventually, he decided to leave the corporate world and start his own business with his wife, Colleen.
The duo, Guy as the groomer and Colleen as the dog washer and dryer, now operate a full-service grooming salon. They work with the skin, coat, ears, nails and teeth of a dog.
One of the more difficult parts of the job is working with an animal that isn’t familiar with them. Over the past decade, Guy has learned that part of the job is training the animal to become comfortable while being groomed. He’s built a repertoire of techniques to help him and the animals.
Keeping the dog close to a person, which one might not think would help, offers emotional support to them. He also uses anything that will vibrate to get the dogs attention so they’ll get used to the buzzing of the clippers. He uses a grooming lube and a happy hoodie, a piece of cloth that goes over a dog’s ears and quiets the dryer during the drying process. He also uses music to help calm dogs.
“To basically set the tone for the dogs when they walk in the door; for us to be ready for them,” Guy said.
The pandemic hasn’t had a huge affect on the business, Guy and Colleen said. They were forced to close from March to June, and stayed afloat from getting the first round of federal stimulus checks.
And when they were able to open back up, their clients came back strong. Typically, when something happens in a household, a pet usually isn’t left out, they said. In the decade Guy has been dog grooming, he’s found that people are usually more willing to spend money at the groomer than at the vet.
The Grooming Guy has multiple clients that take care of their pets real well, he said, but their veterinarians are turning away nail trims because they don’t see it as a necessity during the pandemic when appointments are difficult to obtain.
“I just think that, overall, COVID-19 has impacted the clients who’ve walked through the door because they’re wanting to take care of their pets and it’s kind of hard to figure out how to do that now,” Guy said.
Being small business owners themselves, Guy and Colleen offered a 20 percent discount to anyone who made a purchase at any of the other small businesses in Winlock this Holiday season. They said it may be a thing they extend until after the pandemic is over.
Clients and their dogs get the full treatment when they come to The Grooming Guy. Colleen said even the dogs feel better after their nails have been cut, their fur washed and they get a new haircut.
“You can just tell they don’t feel themselves but after they get a bath and the extra hair cut off them, you can see they look in the mirror and hold their head higher,” Colleen said. “They just walk a little bit differently and it’s one of the best experiences to watch. The dog and their pet parent just look like they feel a million times better.”
Another big plus for clients is that because Guy and Colleen have their hands on the pets so much, that they can often find hidden illnesses that are sometimes missed by pet owners or even vets, who aren’t always looking at the undercarriage.
“I realized in my career that I’ve saved dogs’ lives by finding illnesses or something that was later diagnosed as something that could have been deadly when we caught it sooner,” Guy said. “The dog doesn’t know exactly what’s going on and the pet owner sees what they see. So it’s nice to use every bit of time we spend with the dog to find out how the dog is doing.”
The Grooming Guy also works with Valhalla Canine Rescue, also located in Winlock, and does all of their grooming for free. Many of the dogs there are in dire need of grooming when they first arrive at the rescue.
“We love to help them out because that’s what here we’re for; we’re here for the pets,” Colleen said. “At the end of the day, if we haven’t quite cleared what we need to clear, but we’ve helped four or five dogs feel better, we count it as a successful day.”
More Information on The Grooming Guy
Owners: Guy and Colleen Rose
Location: 301 NE 1st St., Winlock
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday
Social media: facebook.com/pg/guysgrooming