Small Business Success Story: Puppy Love, Inc.

The minute customers and four legged friends walk in the door of Puppy Love, Inc., they know it’s not an average grooming shop. Puppy Love is located in a 1,800 square feet open-concept, cage-free facility dedicated to the comfort of the pooches. From the website:

“We are different. We are Puppy Love. We love dogs and we are proud to be a place where your pet companion can relax and stretch their legs and get the loving attention they deserve while getting groomed. Canines are wonderful creatures that give us so much love, they deserve it.”

Puppy love is owned by Young Moore and her husband Eric. The couple wanted to open a recession-proof business and took entrepreneurial leap in 2014 to open the full service salon and retail store. Here’s more about their venture and how they plan to expand with help from a SmartBiz SBA loan.

Eric says, “I grew up in a family truck driving business that eventually shut down. I then owned and operated my own semi truck but I hated every minute of it.” He knew that there had to be a better way to provide for his family.

Eric’s wife Young has over 15 years of professional grooming experience and the couple decided to capitalize on her deep knowledge of the industry. They founded Puppy Love, Inc. in Commerce Township, Michigan. “All dogs need grooming from Poodles to Pit Bulls and we cater to every pet owner,” Eric says. The business has since expanded to include a specialty retail shop that sells natural and holistic pet foods, quality canine gear and pet toys. Clients love the quality – Puppy Love uses only the best soaps and conditioners available, natural and organic, that allow for optimal skin and coat conditions.  All groomers are Certified Master Groomers and guarantee a great trim on your pet.

The couple self-funded Puppy Love in the beginning. “To get going, we had only about $8,000,” says co-owner Eric. “We didn’t need much inventory since we started with just the wash stations and grooming services.”

While still in the start-up mode, the couple sought out financing. “Being a new company, there was limited financing available,” Eric says. “Merchant Cash Advances with high, high interest seemed to be our only option. It’s horrible but it is what it is.”

Once the business was more established, Eric sought out funding again to help expand Puppy Love and pay off high interest cash advance loans.

“I went online and punched in ‘SBA Loan’,” he says. “There it was – SmartBiz popped up.” Eric worked closely with a SmartBiz Relationship Manager who guided him through the application process. “I had the absolute pleasure of working with Giancarlo Simonetti. He was awesome to work with because he was on top of everything. He called me everyday during the process and answered all of my questions.”

Puppy Love secured a $100,000 SBA loan with low rates and 10-year terms. By paying off existing high interest debt, the couple now has a healthy amount of working capital available each month. Eric says he found the entire online application process “quick, professional and seamless”. His SBA loan funded in just 2 weeks.

“We’re going to expand the self serve wash and the money allowed us to purchase 6 new tubs. We’re also going to purchase additional grooming equipment as well as glass door freezers that can hold more inventory,” Eric says. “Raw and fresh food for dogs getting more popular. The processed foods are so hard on their health. We see unhealthy dogs daily and food can make all the difference. The retail end of things is a natural fit for the salon.”

With 40 – 50 customers a day, business is booming. Word of mouth marketing is strong and the “Refer a Friend” discount is popular. Featured specials help bring in more business. All services dogs get 25% off any grooming service and 50% off on a self serve dog wash while rescue pets get one free self-service wash along with a 50% discount on grooming services.

Eric admits that there are ups and downs to running a busy business. “The best part about owning a business is the challenge of it – it’s not for the light hearted. The hardest thing about being an owner is making time for your family. The business takes up a lot of your time and you have to find time to spend with the kids.”

Eric and Young do get a dose of family life at Puppy Love. They have a 13-year-old son who answers the phones and a 17-year-old daughter who helps out as well. Even the family’s 3 dogs get in on the action and visit the salon regularly. “We have to rotate them out,” Eric laughs. “Otherwise they get too crazy.”

In a TrustPilot review of SmartBiz, Eric recently wrote:

“SmartBiz is the real deal. They don’t charge any up-front fees like many others. The process was fast and we were funded in two weeks. WOW! Thank you so very much Giancarlo and the SmartBiz team. You guys are truly AWESOME!!!”

Puppy Love has its own collection of great reviews below:

The best cut my dogs have ever had. Very pleased and would refer Puppy Love to anyone who loves their dog(s)…Nadine L 

The staff at puppy love are so friendly and knowledgeable. Jaxx loves going in for his grooming appt…Lina E 

Love that my Lexi gets in and out in a couple hours. She always smells great and her cut is perfect! Wendy B 

Visit the Puppy Love website to learn more about their services and products.

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