By Kathy Hosler
Like most people who enter the pet care industry, Rachel Stalcoskie has had a lifelong love affair with animals. She began her career working with them when she was just fifteen years old. She got involved with zoos, dog kennels, and veterinary hospitals.
“In 2006 I became a certified, licensed veterinary technician,” said Rachel. “I started pet grooming out of my basement, then went to a storefront, and moved up from there. I have been grooming ever since.”
Bruce Kolar also grew up with animals – everything from hamsters to horses. After helping his fiancé, Rachel, at her first grooming salon, Bruce decided to leave the stressful corporate world and trade it for a career where he would be surrounded by love – both from Rachel and from all of the animals.
“In July 2010, we bought a second shop together,” shares Rachel. “It has become so busy, that we closed the first shop and have put all of our energy into Rachel Ann’s Country Clips Pet Grooming. It is located in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It is the busiest privately owned salon in the area.”
One of the reasons for their tremendous success is that the Country Clips was built on and is operated on love. Rachel and her fiancé, Bruce, share a deep-seated love for the pets that they care for, and for each other.
“One of our biggest things is the comfort of the pets we care for, and finding the right products to use on them. We want to know that what we use will be beneficial to them,” share an enthusiastic Rachel and Bruce.
“We keep up on the latest and greatest, and we thoroughly investigate all the products that we use. We try them on our own pets,” says Bruce. Then with a hearty laugh he adds, “We try them on ourselves, too!”
Another important facet of their business is the role that technology plays in its successful operation.
“Bruce doesn’t groom,” says Rachel, “but he does everything else. He does our website and promotions. We are on instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. One of the promotions that we are running right now is that we have a pet related question printed on the bottom of every receipt. Every client who correctly answers the question is entered into a drawing for a free grooming.”
Often, people reach out to Rachel and Bruce with questions. “We don’t always realize how much of an impact of what we do has on the lives of our clients and their pets,” says Rachel.
“Education is the biggest thing,” says Rachel. “Many times we get puppies in and new owners don’t know how to brush and care for them. They’re not dumb, they just don’t know. We try to educate them. And, we will refer them to other experts if they need help with training or behavior issues.”
Country Clips has prepared educational handouts for their clients. They made up a postcard with all of the local veterinarians and emergency clinics and their telephone numbers. Their website is packed with tons of information for their clients – not just about their grooming services, but also filled with information about pets in general and their care.
Their website is www.countryclipspetgrooming.com. It tells all about the services and products that Country Clips offers. Clients can book appointments online. There are also a lot of training and educational reading and videos on their site. Country Clips has an online magazine called Let’s Paws a Moment Magazine. It was created as a fun way to keep their clients informed about what is happening in the pet community.
Rachel believes in continued education for herself too. She is a member of the National Cat Groomers Institute of America. And, Rachel recently became an AKC Safety Certified Groomer.
Rachel has appeared on local TV shows many times to talk about grooming topics like shedding, summer hairstyles for pets, and sun and flea protection products. She has also talked about other interesting topics like the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, and how to keep your pets safe during holiday gatherings.
“Because of my training as a veterinary technician, if I see something that needs to be seen by a veterinarian, we send the pet to a vet,” says Rachel. “We have a really great relationship with our area veterinarians,” shares Rachel happily. “When the vets diagnose something, we can often help them solve the problem. For example – a pet that has a skin problem and needs to be bathed every three days with a specific shampoo. We work together diligently to help close the divide that often exists between veterinarians and groomers.”
Rachel and Bruce’s commitment to using only the best equipment and products on their client’s pets has them attending many tradeshows and seminars. It was at one of these shows, Groom Expo in Hershey, Pennsylvania, that they found their latest piece of technology – and it’s paying off in a big way.
One of the booths was demonstrating a new Micro-Bubble bathing system, and Bruce and Rachel just had to know more about it and how it works.
“Getting the Micro-Bubble bathing system was the best decision we ever made….Seriously!” says an excited Rachel. “In the beginning, we had a lot of questions and skepticism about the system. We wanted to know how you could clean a pet with just water and bubbles – and no shampoo.
“It was a big investment,” continues Rachel. “When we first got it, we tried it out on a variety of pets – itchy dogs, shedding dogs, normal dogs, and cats, too – just to see how well it would perform. My uncle is a chemist. He came over during our trial period to look at the system. He was blown away with the technology.”
“We always insist on the best for our clients,” says Bruce. “That’s what prompted us to look at the bathing machine in the first place. We’ve been using the system for a year now. Whatever is on the pet comes off during the Micro-Bubble bath – and some of it is pretty gross…skin flakes and such. This technology makes the pet’s hair feel amazing!”
“When we use it on pets with skin issues and allergies, we’ve had great success by using the microbubble bathing first. It opens and cleans out the pores, and then we follow up with a medicated shampoo recommended by their veterinarian. The vets are very pleased with the results and how quickly we see positive changes in the pets.”
And, that’s exactly what Rachel Stalcoskie and Bruce Kolar wanted to do when they opened Country Clips…make a positive, loving impact on the lives of pets and their owners. ✂