Most afternoons, Gretchen Spitz will be in her new living room on West Highway 30.
Its customers come in all ages, sizes, colors and breeds – dogs, as well as cats. But its clientele does not stop there; she “cut birds’ nails, bathed ferrets and rabbits”.
Gretchen said, “I like animals, they don’t respond.
Although from time to time they bite. Gretchen was bitten and her assistant, Koye Knicely, was bitten, but that did not deter either of them from providing the service.
In the mornings, Gretchen runs the Phoenix Conoco just off the freeway, and there she takes care of the employees and a constant flow of customers. But in the afternoon, she’ll groom at least five dogs at her business, Gretchen’s Grooming.
In summer, it leaves time for other favorite activities: motorcycling and camping.
After four years at her old location next to the Kimball Public Library, Gretchen moved into a more suitable and spacious building. She installed two grooming stations and two brushing and haircutting stations, as well as built-in kennels for those waiting for their date.
Gretchen’s has extensive hairdressing experience. She started by styling people; she was a certified hairdresser.
Then she switched to 4-H animals when her children had lambs and other critters. She later owned a pet store and learned dog grooming at that time – and she said it was not far from styling people’s hair. She’s not afraid to admit that sometimes a cut is a little “trial and error”, or she takes to YouTube for professional advice.
In 2013, she retired from the pet and grooming business, but not for long.
In November 2017, she immediately returned to grooming, and it all turned out like a fluke. A customer broke down in Phoenix Conoco with a motorhome. They ended up giving her the RV with a promise that she would return to dog grooming using the RV. She used the motorhome for about two weeks, but immediately passed it.
Her advice: “You’ll never be broke or starving if you know how to wash and groom a dog.” You will always have a job that people want.
Since the start of the year, Gretchen’s Grooming has attracted 50 new customers, some local but many from outside the region. She has clients from all over – Scottsbluff, Sterling, Cheyenne, Sidney, Bridgeport and people off the freeway in need of a pet grooming.
The process is the same for most dogs. They are given a rough cut, then a bath. Then comes ear cleaning and a good brushing of the teeth. Finally, the client receives their final cut and style.
In the not too distant future, Gretchen’s Grooming will have a self-service bathing station, open 24 hours a day.
Not everyone thought a dog grooming business would be successful in Kimball, but while wait times are any indication of success, a one or two month wait is not uncommon.
Gretchen is very grateful for the tremendous support she has received in the Kimball area and surrounding communities.