Dogma Grooming + Pet Needs
Megan Solomon and Rhiannon Gamble, dog groomers for 13 and 17 years respectively at Dogma Grooming in Richmond’s Carytown district, considered owning a business to be little more than a dream. However, with help from the Capital Region SBDC, their dream became reality in August 2022.
“We both worked at Dogma and loved the small business feel there — we’d found our niche,” Megan says.
That niche was obvious to Dogma’s owner, who looked to Megan and Rhiannon when she decided to sell the business.
“The owner mentored us for a year,” Megan continues. “She was the one who recommended the SBDC.”
It was good advice; helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams is the SBDC’s mission. The business partners contacted SBDC Business Advisor Charese Chambers, who offered encouragement, business basics, and financial projections.
“Charese was wonderful,” Megan says. “She was in constant contact throughout the acquisition process and showed us the ins and outs of getting started. She helped with our business plan, explained lease renewals and put us in contact with the right people.”
Following the SBDC’s pointers, Megan and Rhiannon were approved for a $180,000 bank loan and added $20,000 in owner investment.
“Charese showed us ways to raise funds for our investment as well as how to deal with loan details,” Megan notes.
The business came with 13 employees,. “Fortunately we had employee experience and looked at our employees as family — some have been here over 10 years,” Megan says. “We do have a bookkeeper, and Rhiannon helps with payroll.”
Future plans include taking SBDC classes to add to their business ownership knowledge.
“We plan to hold steady for a year or two before expanding,” Megan adds. “If we stay on the same path we’ve been on, we’ll be fine.”
Megan and Rhiannon don’t hesitate to recommend the SBDC.
“We didn’t know an organization like the SBDC existed,” Megan concluded. “It’s an awesome resource for employees like Rhiannon and me who never thought we could own a business. I hope we can inspire other women to do the same.”