Customers are family at Best Pet Groomer
The homegrown business that began on the cusp of a recession returns this year as a three-time winner for the Best Pet Groomer Nappie Award. Lola Bell’s Pet Grooming, the 2014 winner, also took home Nappies in 2012 and 2013.
Lola Bell’s may best be known by strangers for its vibrant pink wall festooned with white polka dots and the business’ name. This wall of the shop facing Dauphin Street can be spotted from blocks away, but the Dauphin Street location was not always the business’ home.
“We started the business on Florida Street and we actually lived (in the shop) when we were there. We raised a baby in our groom shop. She’s 7 now,” said Courtney Dykes, co-owner of Lola Bell’s.
The husband and wife duo, Courtney and Glynn Dykes, opened their first pet grooming shop in 2007.
Given the economic climate at the time, closing off the back of the shop for their living quarters was the most sensible option. They started small, grooming two pets a day.
Over time, the business slowly grew out of the Florida Street location. Lola Bell’s now grooms an average of 25-30 dogs per day.
“We just took the American dream and made it happen,” Glynn said.
Though the couple opened the business seven years ago, Courtney has been grooming pets since she was 12.
“I did volunteer work for local vets and stuff like that until I was old enough to get paid, then started bathing and drying,” Courtney said. “I’ve always worked with animals, always loved them.”
The volunteer work Courtney began in her youth has carried over as a common practice for Lola Bell’s.
“We do a lot with the city of Mobile shelter,” Courtney said. “I do as much as I can for them.”
In addition to working with the city of Mobile shelter, Lola Bell’s grooms the dogs broadcasted by Channel 10 News each Monday morning that are up for adoption. Other businesses have charged for this service in the past, but Lola Bell’s provides it pro bono. The dogs are typically adopted by the time the show is over, Courtney said.
While Courtney inspires the giving spirit and creativity behind the groom shop (green painted nails and pink dyed fur are staples among pets she grooms), Glynn oversees all of its business aspects.
Both agree they can attribute part of their business’ success to the extra time they spend on patrons and their pets. Every person who walks through the door receives undivided attention from the employees. Every pet receives a 35-minute soak before their trim. In turn, the patrons have reciprocated, creating a loyal and wide-reaching customer base.
“I love my customers, they treat me better than my family,” Courtney said, laughing.
Profile by Kelsey Davis
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