WALLINGFORD — Harmarie Lebron has always viewed his new dog grooming business, The Dog Den, as a “people-grade” establishment.
“I wanted them to come somewhere where even you as the owner wanted to come here and you were like, ‘If this didn’t have dog decor, it’s like a barber shop,'” he said. said LeBron.
Lebron, 32, got the idea to open her own grooming business after realizing some grooming places didn’t meet the expectations she had for her old cocker spaniel, Luna.
“The places I took them, I just felt like that wasn’t the norm, at least my norm,” Lebron said. “My dog is like my family.”
The Dog Den started in 2018 in Lebron’s basement in the Fairfield area.
“It was the kind of thing I did as a hobby,” Lebron said. “People kept asking me about my dog and who I took her to and I just started saying it was me and started booking.”
The Dog Den has now moved into the square at 200 Church St. in the Yalesville section of Wallingford. It opened last week at this location and Lebron currently has around 30 customers.
Currently, Lebron and another groomer are the only two employees at The Dog Den. Both are veterans. Lebron served in the military for four years.
“We are grateful for their service,” said Mayor William Dickinson Jr. “Opening a business can be an overwhelming process with all the paperwork, organization and intelligence. Just the opportunity to present to the public the service you offer. It’s a major undertaking, so I salute them.
Lebron also speaks Spanish.
“Any Spanish-speaking customers are obviously welcome here,” Lebron said. “I know sometimes it’s a language barrier when you go to places like this and you can’t explain what you want.”
Dogs that come to The Dog Den for grooming are not kept in crates when not being groomed. Lebron uses waiting areas for the dogs and makes sure they are safe by locking the front door between customers.
“Your dog isn’t in a crate, which is kind of nice and someone is always with him,” Lebron said. “The feeling someone has when they walk in the door, the door automatically locks and your dog just runs around, having a good time. It’s just nice, you know?
Pricing for full grooming starts at $85 with 1 to 1.5 hour appointments.
“It would be like a bath, a haircut,” Lebron said. “We do two shampoos and one deep conditioner, so a lot of places only shampoo once. We really like to remove dog buildup.
Lebron is also certified to give massages, including facials, sugar scrubs, mud baths for seniors and dogs with aching joints and for dogs with skin conditions. She said creative grooming will be an option in the future.
After the groom, if Lebron gets the owner’s approval, she gives the dog either a desk treat or a doggie sundae, which includes treats and whipped cream.
Dickinson said he thinks the business will do well as dog owners turn to these types of services.
“I guess it’s a godsend for anyone who owns a companion dog and wants to care for it in a healthy and meaningful way,” Dickinson said.
“It’s an opportunity to access services that allow the dog and its owner to be happy and healthy.”
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