Dog groomer moves basement business into full-service salon in Yalesville  

WALLINGFORD — What started as a business in her basement in the Fairfield area has grown into a full grooming service for Hermarie LeBron.

The 32-year-old recently opened The Dog Den Grooming Spa at 200 Church St. in Wallingford.

After losing her retail job, LeBron wanted to find a cheaper way to groom her cocker spaniel, Luna. She invested in some professional grooming equipment and groomed the dog herself. started.

“Learning how to groom my dog ​​was one of the things that was more cost-effective than having to struggle to go every three weeks because I had a very thick coat,” LeBron said. Added.

Luna now runs a professional grooming business.

“The idea came out of my general love for animals. I’ve always had dogs, so I wanted it to be a place I wanted to take them,” LeBron said. I’ve experienced a different level of grooming than other shops, I don’t hold anyone against anyone and everyone does everything the way they see fit. I wanted people to feel it, but I’m originally from New York, so I wanted a modern, sophisticated, high-end atmosphere.”

build her customer

LeBron started building his customer base by hanging out in the park and walking his dog. People started taking note of LeBron’s grooming abilities.

People often ask me, “Who grooms my dog?” or “Where can I take him?” “She looks great,” LeBron explained. “And I started building a clientele that way, and it went viral. We’ve come to the point where it’s not big enough, if ever.”

After serving four years in the Army, LeBron used his experience caring for his own dogs before starting a business to land a job working at a grooming salon. From that experience of hers, she began to realize that she wanted to do something different.

“I said, ‘You know what? I don’t want to work for someone else,'” LeBron said. “I would rather do this for myself. , you may have some say in how you get things done, but never be the way you do it yourself.

open a shop

After grooming for a while, I realized that it wasn’t fair to my clients and their pets to groom animals in a small room at home, so I decided to open a shop.

Revlon opened a store at 200 Church Street Plaza in the Yalesville section of Wallingford. The location she chose was attractive to LeBron because it has large windows and allows for greater transparency with her clients.

“What I like about it is that when I first saw it, all these walls were already built, and there were windows all over every room, and that’s a reliable thing.” “I want my clients to be able to trust me and their dogs to be able to trust me. The fact that you can walk down a small corridor and see the bathing area.

With the help of her boyfriend and father, the three of them redecorated the space on their own. The floors, the bathtub, the plumbing, the logo, the Cocker Spaniel painting that adorns the walls—everything was created to make LeBron’s dream come true.

Revlon opened its stores to the public in October and is now fully booked every Saturday for a month and a half.

A groomer like no other

One of the biggest things people love about her business is not just the quality haircuts and mud baths, but the fact that she’s an honest person who takes the time to connect with her hairy clients before each session. .

“In this industry, having conversations is very important,” said LeBron, who has Italian and Puerto Rican roots and speaks Spanish and English. “One, the person comes in with a dog. Their dog doesn’t know you. They sense how you interact with their owners and with them. It sounds strange to establish a base that is in good standing and willing to talk to each other, but of course on a chemical level it releases pheromones.

Wallingford’s Shannon St. Hiller decided to have her German Shepherd, Spirit, groomed by LeBron after several recommendations from her friends. She described her experience at The Dog Den as “fantastic”.

She also appreciates that it’s a woman-owned business and that LeBron is a Veteran.

“She let me in right away, you know,” said St. Hilaire. “Spirit was the only dog ​​there so it was very comforting to him. It doesn’t take much…and she’s a veteran and a woman owned business.

LeBron is also proud to have no crate so the dog can be groomed and roamed.

“So if a dog comes in and I’m with another dog, he hangs out in the same room as me so I can keep an eye on him. I supervise them together.” There will never be,” she explained.

Giving Back to the Community

Revlon has also partnered with Wallingford Animal Shelter at 5 Pent Road.

Shelters typically call Revlon when their dog needs grooming.

LeBron said, “I’m so happy that the dogs at the shelter come here and they don’t run around in their crate. “When they come in, they look crazy. It’s like another dog is leaving and it makes him feel better.”

LeBron hopes to continue giving back to the community as the business grows. I would like to raise it to a higher level.

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