By Jennifer Farnsworth
During her first week of high school, Wonderland Grooming owner Laura Acquavella, walked into a neighborhood dog grooming salon and asked for a job sweeping up. That job was the first step toward her dream of owning a pet grooming business.
After eight years of working at two grooming salons, while attending school, Acquavella received her Bachelor of Science degree in sociology. She worked in federal service for almost 20 years, before retiring this past winter.
She said it was during that time that she made the decision to never lose sight of her ultimate goal of not only being a groomer, but being her own boss as well. She became a certified dog groomer and graduated from the Golden Paws Pet Styling Academy in Clifton Park in 2013.
She worked as the head groomer at a local dog boarding facility and volunteered her grooming services to rescue dogs.
“I never lost sight of what I really wanted to do. My plan was to wait until retirement, but then I decided it was just time to do it, and it has been great,” said Acquavella.
Wonderland Grooming Salon and Self-Serve Spa, 9 Hampstead Place, Suite 101, Saratoga Springs, opened in August. Acquavella said business so far has been slow but steady.
She acknowledged that she is competing with big-box pet stores who offer grooming services but is confident that personalized care that she gives will makes a difference.
“I have done my research and I know what different breeds may need. I look at their type of skin, hair, even disposition and I know to how to meet those needs. I have a selection of products for every type of dog, and in a stress-free environment,” said Acquavella.
In addition to being a certified groomer, she is certified in animal CPR and is diligent about reviewing the American Red Cross instructions on dog first aid every six months.
Acquavella is currently working on her own, but said she is open to the possibility of adding an employee once the business begins to grow. She said she is confident that being in Saratoga will help foster that growth.
“The community of Saratoga is so supportive of small business. They also are such a dog friendly community, and it has been wonderful to be here,” said Acquavella.
Wonderland Grooming prefers appointments but walk-ins are welcome. They offer full-service options, as well as do-it-yourself bays that are spacious enough for large breeds. They are stocked with all-natural and organic products. There is also a gift shop with themed bandanas, pet grooming products and pet gifts.
For more information about Wonderland Grooming, visit www.wonderlandgrooming.com for information on services, hours, and pricing.