Rushford has a reputation as a full-service city; nearly every business a person could want makes its home within the city. A person may have everything, but what about the needs of our furry companions? Until now, the city has surprisingly lacked a professional dog grooming business. Last year, new Rushford resident Teisha Escobar changed that and business is booming.
Escobar and her family of seven moved to the city from Fairbult in 2017 after her husband earned a promotion at work relocating them to the southeast Minnesota area. “We chose to move to Rushford because of the small town feel and the good schools,” she recalls. Initially, Escobar worked in Rochester, but this left her away from her home and family for sometimes 10-12 hours a day. “I was trying to figure out a way to be home more. I wanted to be able to be home with the kids when needed.”
“I had heard a million times since moving to Rushford that people were driving all over, sometimes more than an hour away, to get their dogs groomed and that’s really when it started to tug at my heart,” she adds. “God has been a huge factor in this new journey. This business was put on my heart fairly quickly.”
Escobar is completely self-taught in the profession with plenty of experience grooming their own two dogs, including a cocker spaniel and a goldendoodle. Escobar also has years of experience grooming dogs for family and friends dogs. “Mostly it’s my love of animals and the calling on my heart that brought me to where I am now,” she says.
It was initially a bit worrisome to consider going out of her comfort zone and putting herself out there as a new business. Her biggest fear was quitting her job and not getting any clients for the grooming business. But, inwardly, her hope was that this would be the greatest thing that’s ever happened for the family.
“I wanted to start small being it was a totally new venture for me. I talked to a gal that had been grooming in the area for a number of years and was retiring. She gave me some really good tips and tricks on running the business part,” adds Escobar. In August 2017, she took the plunge and formally applied to the City of Rushford for a Conditional Use Permit to operate the home-based business, Dunkin Doodles Grooming.
Once the city council approved the permit, Escobar and her family began setting up the space in the lower level of the family’s home. The area fit the needs for the business, including room for a grooming table and a range of equipment and products. Primarily, Escobar uses either a scissors or clippers for the dogs’ coats, a nail clipper or Dremel tool for nail filing, and various dryers, combs, brushes, and all natural products.
Starting out, the business is operating under scheduled appointments rather than set hours. “I’m pretty flexible with my clients’ needs and try to accommodate them as best as I can,” she says. A range of services are offered, including a bath package, cut package, puppy package, trims (face, paws, sanitary areas), nail trim/filing, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing. “My smallest have been the Yorkie, which can be very wiggly. The biggest would be some of the goldendoodles, which have a mind of their own, too. They’re all a joy to work with and I absolutely love what I do,” she raves.
“I have tons of stories! One owner said she could not cut the pup’s nails for the life of her and that it was usually a family effort to get it done. All I had to do was treat reinforcement, giving a small treat for doing a request like letting me cut a nail or groom a paw. It was easy-peasy for me,” she laughs. “My goal for each pup I see is to help them be as comfortable as possible with me and the new environment and eventually enjoy grooming again.”
“Watching everything unfold so smoothly has been amazing to watch,” adds Escobar. “My clients have been another wonderful highlight. Everyone has been so supportive and just wonderful. Besides, I get to work with pups. Who wouldn’t love that?”
Looking towards the future, Escobar would love to grow the business into other avenues as well. She’s currently planning on moving the business into the family’s garage space once it’s cleaned and more business-friendly. She’s also considered moving out of the home to accommodate a bigger spa area. “I’d love to offer a self-service dog washing area, treats and accessories, or even boarding,” she adds enthusiastically.
“I pride myself in being gentle and building a bond with the pups as I work with them,” she says. “I focus more on the animal’s temperament and personality and set aside a lot of time for each pup I see. Each one has different needs at the time. They may be scared being in a new place with a new person, maybe have never been groomed, or have physical ailments, so I base my grooming times on the animal’s needs.”
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work with people in and around Rushford and their pets,” enthuses Escobar.
Dunkin Doodles Grooming can be reached at (507) 858-9556 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.