By Jen Phillips April
The St. Petersburg, Florida–based grooming shop boasts a tightly–knit staff of four award–winning groomers and a combination of over 30 years of grooming experience. Since 2016, they’ve pampered their four–legged clients with devotion.
“Grooming dogs isn’t just our job. It’s our career. And we love what we do”, says Leslie Dover, the owner of Two Mutts and a Poodle.
“Dogs love coming to us,” Leslie says. “We work hard to maintain a calm and quiet environment for the dogs. Some clients say things like, ‘The last groomer struggled with him, but he’s so good for you.’” Leslie is proud they’ve created such a dog–friendly environment.
It’s a cohesive team. Besides Leslie, the foursome includes Kristin Hudson, Izaiah Pheasant and Courtney Crowley (who has been at the shop since 2010.) They’re all passionate about dog grooming and continuing education.
“We’re like a family. We have complementing personalities. It makes for a stronger group at the end of the day,” Leslie says.
The four of them not only work together, but also travel together to grooming competitions and workshops. “We’ve traveled all over Florida, from Jacksonville to Miami, for seminars and workshops.”
Leslie and her team have also been to Orlando and Atlanta for grooming competitions. “We use a combination of our own dogs, and amazing clients and wonderful groomer friends who have let us borrow their dogs.” This September they’re heading to Hershey, PA for Groom Expo.
Leslie says closing the salon and traveling together took a little getting used to for their clients. They use social media to stay connected. “We post pictures and videos. That way, they understand exactly what goes on behind the scenes so they realize we’re not just on vacation.”
The salon originally opened in 2009 with a different owner and slightly different name—Two Poodles and a Mutt—when Leslie bought the salon, she changed the name. “I literally had Two Mutts and a Poodle (two boxer mixes and a standard poodle) so it was similar but unique and personal enough to make my own.”
Leslie admits that one of the challenges of running a successful grooming business is being able to stand out from other shops. “There are lots of people who will price shop. Our prices are a little higher than some of the others because of our safety measures, education and dedication. We are our own shop. But people will call and compare you to others when they don’t know what goes into it.”
One of the things that keeps her going is seeing the joy in their four–legged clients. “I love seeing the transformation of dogs. They can’t groom themselves. They’re so happy because they feel good and they want nothing more than being there with us.”
About her team, she says, “You’re only as good as the person next to you. We love grooming and growing together.” ✂️