There are a lot of dogs in Gillespie County. But there aren’t many places available to keep these dogs clean and trimmed.
Bryana Stewart was aware of this when she launched her new pet grooming salon, Breeze Grooming, at 503 N. Llano St.
Stewart is originally from Odessa but started working with animals as a veterinary technician in Houston. She loved the Fredericksburg area and had the opportunity to work here with a local groomer.
“I was lucky enough to get a job with Kellie (Kellie’s Doggie Country Resort), so I want to give it to others,” Stewart said.
Paying it forward means something to Stewart, who fell on hard times when she was young.
“I grew up at 14 alone and alone after a nasty divorce between my parents,” Steward said. “I walked down a dark road and made so many bad choices that I lost everyone and everything I loved.”
Now Stewart feels deep gratitude for the opportunity she has as a business owner and for the people who have helped her along the way.
Roger Winter, its owner, played a big role in helping Stewart start his business.
“He helped set up my tubs and fence in my yard and other important stuff,” Stewart said.
Stewart got into the dog grooming business following the emotional struggle of being a vet tech.
“After 10 years, I started getting depressed when I had to euthanize my dogs that I had known from birth,” Stewart said.
Grooming gave Stewart the opportunity to work with the dogs she loved and see her clients’ joy when their animals looked happy and healthy after an appointment.
According to Stewart, the best dog groomers are people who have an artistic nature.
“You want someone who’s creative, who likes to draw or decorate,” Stewart said. “We have dogs that come for colors or mohawks. We have painted nails, all kinds of crazy stuff.
There was plenty of business for Stewart as soon as his business opened. She had already established relationships with clients of her former employer.
But it’s important to her to keep her services open to new clients as well, so Stewart blocks out weekday hours for new clients only.
Stewart takes the gratitude she has for this opportunity and extends that kindness to both her pets, her customers and her staff.
“I don’t like using muzzles,” Stewart said. “It sends them into a fight or flight response. I am not an energetic groomer.
Stewart explained that she won’t be heavy-handed with a frightened or aggressive dog during a session. Instead, she will work with the animal to begin to build trust in order to slowly work towards the necessary goal.
The work she puts into her relationship with animals is evident in the peaceful surroundings of the salon.
“We have a very tranquil setting,” Stewart said. “Most places get loud, noisy and crazy. All the dogs that come here are so much calmer. They are not stressed.
With her staff, she hopes to provide them with the opportunity to learn and maximize their own financial growth in the same way she has.
“I can train somebody, teach people, and pass that on to where they can actually make a living and keep their money,” said Stewart, who hopes to allow her groomers to keep the income from their work rather than share the income with the business.
Joy and gratitude keep Stewart passionate and energetic in her work, even amid the trials of being a single mother and growing through the difficult times in her life.
“It’s not a job for me,” Stewart said. “I’m tired at the end of the day but I’m happy.
“I owe it all to God and my kids who pushed me to be better, and all my clients in the community who told me to go for it.”
Appointments can be made at Breeze Grooming by calling 830-992-3952.