Dog grooming

A chance encounter leads to a career in dog grooming – Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Born and raised in Kitimat, 24-year-old Abigail Steponavicius began her journey as a full-time dog groomer and business owner. Steponavicius was born in the old Kitimat Hospital and had a typical childhood in northwestern British Columbia.

She spent time outdoors with her friends and went camping with her family.

Steponavicius went to Roy Wilcox Elementary School before moving to MESS for high school. His experience was a little different from the average.

“Well, my mother was my principal for most of my schooling. She was my vice principal in elementary school, then when high school came around, she said, ‘I’m coming to high school with you,’ so she was always there,” Steponavicius said.

Although his mother, Janet Meyer, who is retiring this year as school district superintendent, worked in schools, Steponavicius still disliked school. During her high school experience, she worked at Rosario’s as an assistant chef, helping prepare food and doing whatever was needed in the kitchen.

“It’s good to see how a restaurant actually works, it’s stressful because there’s a lot going on,” she said.

Steponavicius loved to cook, so after high school she took culinary training at Northwest Community College in Terrace.

However, there was a slight bump in his career ambition. “I’m a very picky eater, going to school to cook isn’t easy when you don’t like a lot of food,” she said.

Steponavicius worked at the White Spot in Terrace making breakfast, then at the Wings in Terrace for a brief period before deciding it was time for a change.

She moved back to Kitimat where her boyfriend at the time had a job and started working at the Chalet, a job she held for a few years. Eventually, her work at the Chalet changed to part-time.

“And I decided that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a kitchen,” she said. “It’s too hot in the summer.

Steponavicius then started working at Pet Valu and that’s when she realized she wanted to do something else.

“I’ve always been very fond of animals,” Steponavicius said. “I had my first dog who was named Harley and it kind of started my true love for dogs.”

Her family has always had animals, even a dog her mother named Jake who terrified her. Despite the bad experience with her mother’s dog, her love for dogs grew.

While working at the pet store, the opportunity arose for Steponavicius to train in dog grooming.

“A lady came into the store one day and was talking to us and telling us about her school called Northern BC School of Dog Grooming,” she said.

The idea of ​​attending school came to her mind before she finally made the final decision to enroll.

She went to school, located in Endako, with Blair Stoneman, a friend and colleague of Pet Valu. There they lived in a trailer for six weeks, grooming over 125 dogs.

But getting to Endako proved potentially dangerous as Steponavicius forgot to tighten his vehicle’s tires and one was about to fall. “He started shaking and I feel like something is wrong,” she said.

Luckily, sister Kayla Steponavicius and her boyfriend were hauling the trailer and the boyfriend was able to take a look and secure the wheel so they could complete their journey.

“Our plan when we got home from school was to do some grooming at Pet Valu, but the contract they had wasn’t worth it,” she said. “At the time, I was looking at houses in Kitimat to see what I wanted to do.

Her father, Mike Steponavicius, also agreed that she shouldn’t accept the contract but rather start her own business, saying if she had a house they could build something.

The house she bought had a larger laundry room which she thinks could have been a garage in the past. She bought a stackable washer and dryer to free up space and installed a tub to create her own dog grooming space.

Steponavicius continued to work at the pet store and started running his business, Step by Step Grooming, on a part-time basis just over a year ago.

When deciding whether or not she would do full-time grooming, she spoke to Jenn Jonkman, owner of Hale Holistics in Kitimat. Jonkman helped break down some of the numbers for her and explained what it was like to own a business.

Last month, Steponavicius went from three days a week to full time.

“It depends on the dog, a shepherd is something you don’t cut the fur off of, I like grooming big dogs because there’s so much more room,” Steponavicius said. “But with a small dog, you have to pick it up and go around it.”

She also found that many of the dogs she cared for behaved very well once their owners left, although their owners warned Steponavicius that they might not behave.

Business has taken off for the young dog groomer as she now started taking her appointments in May.