At the ripe old age of 19, Heartland customer Misty Gieczys knew she wanted to start her own business. She wasn’t sure what kind of business it would be, but she was confident that it would happen one day. After a two year stint as a dog trainer, she worked hard to become a certified groomer and fell in love with the trade. With the help of Heartland Bank, she opened Designer Paws Salon in Westerville and they just celebrated their grand opening.
Misty used her vision and creativity to design the new salon, a 1,234 SF facility on Maxtown Road in Westerville. Although construction took longer than expected, the shop is currently open for business Tuesday – Saturday each week from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Designer Paws Salon was created to be a warm, welcoming, upscale salon where people would want to take their pets for creative and designer cuts. The space features unique paw shaped windows that allow pet owners to watch Misty in the grooming area from the lobby. She also loves color, as evidenced by the vibrant hues on each wall, the towels she uses, and occasionally on the dogs that she grooms for shows.
Misty competes nationally in Creative Pet Grooming competitions. Professional groomers transform ordinary-looking canines into fantastical creatures – pirates, unicorns, Care Bears, peacocks and the like. The trend began with professional groomer Jerry Schinberg of Des Plaines, IL who hosted the first-ever dog grooming competition in 1973, and is credited with introducing the notion of Creative Grooming in 1980. Evidently, he got the idea from going to beauty shows that focused on hair styling for women.
Today, there are many different Creative Grooming contests that are held each year across the country, usually as part of a larger, regular grooming competition. While the prize money for winning a regular grooming contest can be in the tens of thousands, the amount awarded for creative grooming is usually far less.
Designer Paw Salon is currently a family owned and operated business. While Misty handles the pet grooming at the salon (she’s also a certified cat groomer), her husband Chris is the COO and developed the website. Chris’ mother currently runs the front of the house operations. In five years, she would love to add either a school that teaches grooming or expand her space to include a pet daycare facility.
Be on the look-out for their 'Ruff'er-A-Friend drawing which will be held next March – the winner will receive an iPad Mini. For more information about the drawing, please visit their website.
Heartland Bank helped Designer Paws Salon with their financing. "If it wasn't for Heartland Bank, we would not be here today," said Misty. Let us help you “groom” your finances as well! Stop by one of our 11 locations and see if we can point your “paws” in the right direction!