Groomed for continued success

With 500 clients, Minda and Allie doubled their space and created 3.5 jobs in less than one year of operation.

Minda Dixon and Allie Ruff always loved dogs. They had been grooming them for many years at various salons, but they sensed that there were better ways to pamper pets. “We wanted to have more one-on-one contact with customers,” Minda says. “We wanted the dogs to have more physical freedom and walking space. We saw ourselves as a free-range pet-grooming shop.” By late 2017, they were ready to open their own shop.

Fortunately, Minda’s husband had started a company the previous year, called New River Outdoor Adventures (featured in the SBDC Client Profiles, 2017 edition), and he worked with the Blue Ridge Crossroads SBDC to get it going. Her parents, Manuel and Rose Gonzalez also worked with the Blue Ridge Crossroads SBDC to open their food truck, Taco Trolley, so she had a history with Director Mandy Archer and Assistant Ginny Plant.

“I met Mandy and Ginny when my husband started Outdoor Adventures and when my parents started their Taco Trolley. I knew that their assistance would be invaluable for getting Dog Daze set up,” Minda explains. “We needed help with the basics – a business plan, a financial plan, getting a loan, some legal assistance – that kind of thing. The SBDC was amazing all the way through.”

“They helped us with projected income, projected expenses, and getting a good rate from the banks,” Minda adds. “Even today, we meet with the SBDC to discuss how we can increase productivity; that’s one of our big plans for the next few months. As our success continues, our relationship with the SBDC strengthens.”

May 2018 marked a big step forward for Dog Daze with the expansion of their store and the addition of two employees. As their business thrives, they continue to look for ways to go “above and beyond” customer needs, including doggy daycare services and engaging Facebook photo contests.

Minda is always quick to refer to the SBDC as the catalyst for their continued success. “The SBDC has been so beyond our dreams in terms of supporting and nurturing this business,” Minda says. “It was just an idea two years ago, and now it’s the centerpiece of our lives. For anyone starting a business, they’re the first people I would talk to.”

Virginia SBDC