Tiffany Cowart started her pet grooming business with “a table and a tub.” Now there are three grooming stations and three employees in the suite she rents in downtown Comstock Park.
Cowart, owner of Tiffany’s Pet Spot at 3979 West River Dr., grew up surrounded by animals, so it was only natural for her to make animals a part of her life’s work. “My family would take in dogs, give them a home until we found them new homes,” she said. “I grew up with cats….we had lizards. “I thought I wanted to work with exotic animals,” she added.
Cowart, a 2007 Comstock Park High School graduate, took veterinary courses for a short time but decided school wasn’t for her – she wanted to get right to working with animals. Cowart enrolled at Paragon School of Pet Grooming in Jenison, and worked as staff there after graduating as well as taking business courses. She worked at a couple pet grooming salons, and when she decided to open her own business, she took on a third job at a gas station to support her venture.
Cowart said she knew as soon as she started school at Paragon that she wanted to own her own grooming business and saved money toward that end. Just as Cowart knew what she wanted her business to be, she knew exactly where she wanted to locate her business. “I grew up in Comstock Park, and I thought that right here in downtown Comstock Park would be a really neat little area,” she said, adding that she finds the rent affordable.
Cowart opened Tiffany’s Pet Spot in 2010 in the 500 square foot space she rents. The three employees work on commission. In August 2014 Cowart took over another salon in Cedar Springs from the owner who was moving. There are two employees at that salon, also called Tiffany’s Pet Spot. Cowart said she relies primarily on word of mouth for advertising.
The salons are full service salons providing all grooming needs for both cats and dogs. Cowart noted she has even trimmed nails for an occasional rabbit or guinea pig. A full grooming session for a dog can take one to two hours depending on the breed and the temperament of the dog. “One of our goals is to get the dogs out (quickly) so they don’t have to sit here all day,” noted Cowart.
During a full session, dogs get bathed, shampooed, brushed trimmed and blow dried (or air dried if the blow dryer makes them nervous). Fifi or Fido can get a free bow or nail polish upon request. An advantage to her business location is that there are the restaurants and the library just a block away where customers can wait while their pet has a spa time. In the summer, Cowart gives customers a coupon for a free doggie sundae at the ice cream shop in the next block.
Cowart said grooming cats and dogs is as different as, well cats and dogs. “Cats are a little more high stress,” she said, adding cats are generally scheduled when they have the place to themselves to avoid the stress.
Cowart has three dogs of her own – Trixy and Misty who are standard poodles and one toy poodle named Ducky. Misty is a retired grand champion expecting a litter of puppies.
Cowart is a certified pet groomer working on the first level of becoming a certified master groomer and hopes to complete all three levels by July of this year. She will take part in her first grooming competition in March. She still lives in Comstock Park. She said that when she’s not busy at her salons, her time is pretty much spent showing, grooming and training her own dogs.