Downtown Orillia business aims to ‘make dogs feel better’ (3 photos) – OrilliaMatters

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The following ‘success story’ was submitted to OrilliaMatters by the Orillia Area Community Development Corporation.
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ShamPooch Dog Grooming is located in downtown Orillia, and its storefront location in the city’s Arts District at 19 Peter St. S. has been a boon for business, says ShamPooch owner Dianne Wall.

“Within six months of moving from a location along the highway north of Orillia, my business tripled,” explained Wall.

“There’s so much traffic in the downtown, including cottagers in the summer. I think being in the public eye raises awareness of my services and it may spark people to think about how their dog may benefit from grooming services,” added Wall.

Wall is a professionally trained dog groomer, having completed the Animal Care program at Sheridan College and a diploma program as a Professional Pet Stylist at Pet’s Beautiful. More recently, she has earned the title of Pet Food Nutrition Specialist. 

As a lifelong dog owner and self-professed animal lover, Wall is pursuing her passion as a small business owner; providing a service in the area where she grew up and contributing to Orillia’s downtown business mix. 

Things were working out well, not only for Wall and her ShamPooch business, but for a growing number of happy dog owners, until COVID-19 hit and closed the business down.

“With my business closed, I began to look into opportunities for government assistance, but quickly realized I didn’t meet the applicant requirements. I wasn’t able to check off every box in order to qualify.”

Colleagues suggested to Wall that she investigate the federal government’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. When she Googled it, up came the Orillia Area Community Development Corp., (CDC), the organization administering the funds.

“Here I had been across the street from the CDC offices for over three years and I had no idea of what kind of services they offered,” said Wall. “Now I’m so thankful that they exist. Without their assistance, it would have been a lot more difficult to be successful at getting this loan.”

“The CDC staff walked me through every single line of the application. It really eased my stress level and helped me feel confident with my application,” Wall explained.

“Once restrictions were lifted, I was able to re-open and pick up where I left off,” said Wall. 

While ShamPooch customers had to go without grooming services during the business closure, Wall feels it made her clients more appreciative of her services.

“Many dog owners are either unable to or don’t have the time for regular grooming, like brushing and nail clipping, that their dogs need. It’s harder than many people think it is,” said Wall. “As pet groomers, we sometimes hear people saying, ‘Oh, you get to play with puppies every day.’”

In reality, Wall says the work can be challenging and explains how important it is to understand the dog’s body language and how to deal with nervousness.

“What we do has more to do with the overall health of the dog; it’s not just a pretty haircut, we make dogs feel better,” she said.

Educating dog owners about the importance of good grooming and nutrition is something that Wall considers part of her job and the reason she started offering nutrition information and products for her clients. 

As a Pet Food Nutrition Specialist, Wall specializes in raw dog food nutrition and sells a number of products from her shop. It’s something she hopes to expand in the future, along with hiring a full-time dog groomer to support the growing business.

“As I build the business, I intend to keep in touch with the CDC. There’s always room for improvement and I look forward to accessing their services to help me, especially with employer responsibilities as I expand.”

For now, Wall is busy with a waiting list of clients, and as a small business owner, knows she always needs new clients and looks forward to working with dog owners to help make their dogs happy and healthy.

To learn more about ShamPooch Dog Grooming visit their website or call 705-325-9325.

For more information on the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) visit www.orilliacdc.com or contact 705-325-4903 x 101.

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