Down to Business: Whether you go to them or they come to you, Naperville pet salon ready to groom Fluffy and Fido – Chicago Tribune

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Business: PurrFurred Pet Styling

Address: 670 W. 5th Ave., Naperville

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Phone/website: 630-577-7652, www.purrfurred.com

Owners: Jason Ray, 42, and Sarah Ray, 40, of Naperville

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Years in business: 16

What does your business do? “We offer quality, premium grooming services whether (the customer’s) at their home or if they want to bring their dog to one of our salons, ” Jason Ray said. “We do mobile grooming, too. We started out with mobile grooming. Then we added shop locations. Naperville in 2015, Aurora in 2019 and Warrenville in 2021. ”

How many mobile grooming vans? “Five. All the vans work out of this location. ”

What’s inside? “They’re set up like our salons. We have the tub. Heated fresh water daily. We do the bathing, washing and grooming here. The benefit is we can go to people’s houses if their dogs don’t do well with traveling…. This is a faster option…. Dropping off at a salon, the dogs are with us longer. ”

Meghan Flynn, of Bolingbrook, grooms Ditka, a Shih Tzu mix, at PurrFured Pet Stylng in Naperville.

How did this start? “My wife and I started the business, with my wife as the only groomer. I was the behind-the-scenes guy. ”

What challenges do you face? “It’s not easy to be a groomer. Right now, there’s a shortage of groomers in general. COVID has increased the number of people who are pet owners…. The salons are bringing in more revenue than mobile, but that would be different if I had more mobile groomers. ”

Is being a groomer like being a hairstylist? “There will be schooling, much like a hairstylist. From there, the breeds play a big role in the type of haircut. But (it depends) also on what the client wants. ”

Is shaggy easier? “Letting dogs go shaggier means more upkeep. Some people want their canine fluffy. That means you’ll see groomer more often…. We have a lot of clients who want that. All of us also have clients who want ease of maintenance, a tighter, shorter haircut. ”

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What did you before this? “I was working in the gas/oil engineering field. It wasn’t until 2016 that I transitioned full time to this…. My wife was grooming since 2000. ”

Are certain breeds easier to work with? “My wife loves tidying poodles. We have three poodles and a golden retriever at home…. Terriers are always more of a challenge to work with. A little feistier. As far as grooming goes, we observe Shih Tzus the most. They need haircuts often…. Smaller dogs are not a ton of work. Your big hairy breeds are the most work. Not the grooming. The bathing plus drying…. We don’t turn people away based on breed, based on temperament. ”

Jason Ray, who owns PurrFurred Pet Styling in Naperville with his wife, Sarah, says some customers prefer to use their mobile grooming service because it requires less time and is easier for animals that don't travel well.

Is there a busy time? “November and December. Most people want their dogs clean and looking good for the holidays…. Our slowest times are usually January and September when kids go back to school. ”

What do you like best? “Working with all the animals and all the owners. Meeting new people. ”

What does a customer have to say? “They’re great. They’ve been taking care of our canines since they were puppies, ” Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said.

What misconceptions do people have? “That we play with dogs all day. It’s a dirty job. Dirtier than people think. The hair and the dander…. I have an HVAC guy here now. The filter was caked with so much dander…. Groomers wear goggles, masks so they don’t breathe it within. We do a deep cleaning on a daily basis. ”

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How about prices? “A small dog, you’ll be $70 or $75. Our cellular service, $110 to $115.  … A St . Bernard, $155. We base costs on how long it takes (to groom). ”

Are dogs happy after? “A lot of dogs are. Especially dogs that come in with a heavy coat. They’re very happy. They enjoy it. ”

Do you groom cats? “Yes. The thing with cats is only a limited number of groomers work with pet cats. I only have four groomers who do cats. We have 30 employees. Cats are very unpredictable. They can be very lovey one minute and biting or scratching you the next. These people intimidate groomers. ”

Any future plans? “We’d probably add other locations and maybe another van or even two. ”

What’s your advice for someone starting a business? “Have a good plan in place. Stick with it…. Running a business is hard. It’s not for everyone. ”

If you know of a business you’d like to see to profiled in Down to Business, contact Steve Metsch at [email protected] com .

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Steve Metsch is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.

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