Dog grooming

Teen entrepreneur opens dog grooming salon in Kaleva

KALEVA — At only 19, Kaitlyn Weaver has already understood a lot.

“I always knew I wanted to do something with animals and be my own boss,” Weaver said. “Having odd jobs here and there as a teenager, I didn’t really like not being in control.”

That’s why Weaver says she decided to start her own business — a pet grooming salon — in Kaleva.

“I guess you could say that’s what drove me to have my own business, and just the love I have for animals,” she said.


Named Barkin’ Bandit, after Weaver’s beloved family dog, the salon opened about five months ago at 9666 Jouppi Road.

“We recently had to put my family dog ​​down last year, and his name was Bandit and he and I had a really good connection,” Weaver said. “He was my best friend growing up – kind of like an emotional support dog – so I definitely chose the name based on the fact that he was no longer with us.”

When asked what it was like to be a young entrepreneur, Weaver’s response was “stressful.”

“It’s definitely been a great learning process,” she said. “You have to talk to a lot of people that I never thought I would be able to contact, but I really enjoy learning all about everything and then being able to take what I’ve learned and share it with people.”

Her favorite part of being a dog groomer — aside from the adorable pets — is how busy the job can get.

“You don’t really get a break and I love that about it,” she said. “We can’t just sit down and eat lunch like you would with a normal job. I guess you could say I love the fast-paced environment that comes with it.

Since opening, Weaver said she has had her hands full grooming some of the biggest dogs in the county.

“We welcome larger breed dogs more, such as Great Dane, St. Bernard, Great Pyrenees – that sort of thing,” she said. “We have taken in many dogs that groomers have rejected in our area due to their size.”

Weaver, a longtime resident of the Manistee area, describes her business as a “personal toilet,” which she says was a real plus for building relationships with animals.

“We’re more on the calm, cool, collected side of grooming,” she said. “We like to only have one dog at a time so we can create that bond with your particular dogs. If you come to a groomer and you have dogs everywhere, your dog tends to be more stressed.”

Weaver recommends taking dogs to a groomer for a simple brush and bath every month and says it’s important for pet owners to understand that every dog ​​grooms differently.

“Not all dogs look the same, even if they are of the same breed, because there are things we can’t do on some dogs that we can do on others just because of behavior (and) of the dog’s temperament,” she says.

To visit Barkin’ Bandit on Facebook for more information, and call (231) 299-7177 or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment.