Ahwatukee Foothills is a community that prides itself on supporting locally-owned mom and pop businesses, and Fluffy Tails Pet Salon, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, is proof that the little guy can succeed, even in a bad economy.
Rose Finney opened Fluffy Tails a year ago, and she believes that her business has succeeded because of her loyal customers.
“I’ve been very blessed with my customers’ loyalty, and they have brought in new customers through word of mouth,” she said.
Fluffy Tails offers the conventional bath and brush service as well as trimming, but spa packages with nail filings and hot oil are also available. Dedicated pet owners can also get flea and tick baths, as well as hypoallergenic oatmeal treatments.
Finney is in her ninth year of grooming dogs, and she got her start at another local grooming shop.
“The owner of the grooming shop I worked at taught me how to groom, but she eventually sold her business. The new owners sold as well, so I wanted to start my own business to keep a mom and pop quality with a lot of personal attention,” she said.
Before grooming, Finney worked in a children’s day care, and she has found similarities in the two fields.
“People have the same concerns about their pets as they do with their children,” she said.
A dog’s first day at the groomers can even be compared to a child’s first day at school.
“A lot of times when dogs come here for the first time they can be nervous, but once they’re parents leave they’re perfectly fine,” she said. “When they leave they’re strutting their stuff and showing their parents how nice they look.”
Finney has noticed an increase in the trend of mobile pet grooming, but she believes that grooming salons have a few distinct advantages.
“A lot of my clients work, and they can drop off their dogs on their way to work in the morning and pick them up on their way home,” she said. “It’s just like a little day care here.”
Finney has a small staff with one other groomer and two part-time bathers. Her husband, a federal officer and pet lover, also helps on his days off. Fluffy Tails’ low operating costs help Finney keep prices low for customers.
“Treatment for the basic dog starts off at $30,” Finney said. “A lot of my customers have multiple pets, so I work with them to give them a good deal. I help them out so that they will help me by coming back.”
Finney expects business to pick up as the holiday season approaches, and she is encouraging pet owners to call ahead of time to make appointments.
Fluffy Tails Pet Salon is located at 3646 E. Ray Road. For more information, call (480) 704-0557.