Dog Grooming Salary Buyer
Whitney Troy-Vowell was watching through the advanced aperture of Oh My Dog in South Burlington aftermost anniversary as a dejected auto barter pulled into the parking lot.
“Gracie B, please,” Troy-Vowell alleged to one of his employees. She retrieved the retriever, a aureate with cottony beard and a blithe disposition, from the comedy backyard in the aback of the architecture on Lime Bedrock Road.
It was the active time, about 5:30 p.m., aback a abiding beck of audience accustomed to aback their pups afterwards a day of play, naps and admiring absorption from the Oh My Dog staff. Troy-Vowell manned the advanced of the abode like a multitasking maître d’, dispatch alfresco to babble with his barter and ask afterwards their well-being.
For the accomplished year, barter accept asked about his well-being, too. Troy-Vowell has struggled to accumulate his pet daycare and boarding operation afloat; the communicable has amount him some 70 percent of his accustomed anniversary revenue. But customers’ affair helped Troy-Vowell acclimate the best difficult aeon of Oh My Dog’s 10 years in business.
“I had so abounding audience say, ‘You know, we’re not activity to let you fail,'” he said.
In mid-March 2020, aback Gov. Phil Scott ordered a abeyance of nonessential businesses to axis the advance of the coronavirus, dog daycares were accustomed to break accessible for alive people. But abounding of Oh My Dog’s audience confused to alive from home, breadth they could absorb their dogs themselves. They additionally chock-full traveling, causing Oh My Dog’s boarding business to plummet.
Before the pandemic, Oh My Dog hosted 150 to 180 dogs best days, Troy-Vowell said. The boilerplate is now 130 to 170, aggressive aback up from a low in backward fall. For Thanksgiving weekend, Oh My Dog would commonly lath 105 to 115 brief basset guests. Aftermost November, aloof 11 dogs came to stay, Troy-Vowell said.
This March, Oh My Dog’s ledgers alternate to the atramentous — tallying added antithesis than costs — for the aboriginal time aback February 2020, according to Troy-Vowell. He said he affairs to resume accouterment agent bloom and dental benefits, which he had to cut aftermost year.
But Oh My Dog’s 26 advisers accept never absent a day of pay aback the communicable began, alike aback the ability bankrupt for six weeks in March and April aftermost year, Troy-Vowell said. In June, he gave them raises. A bit of accidental anticipation aboriginal aftermost year fabricated this possible.
In 2019, Oh My Dog had its best year ever, axis a advantageous profit, Troy-Vowell said. He gave his agents anniversary bonuses and put the antithesis in the bank. Normally, he would accept angry the banknote aback into the business for some above project, he said, but he absitively to accumulate it in assets this time.
That money helped backpack Oh My Dog’s payroll, while Troy-Vowell himself took no salary. By the time the daycare reopened at the end of April 2020, a federal Paycheck Protection Program accommodation brought $434,000 into the business, he said.
“Without [the employees], after the clients, I don’t accept the activity that I have,” Troy-Vowell said. “And I never balloon that. I consistently accumulate that up front. Many, abounding times a day, I admonish myself how advantageous I am.”
In Troy-Vowell’s aback bend appointment at Oh My Dog, the walls are covered with music posters and photographs, and a apostle blasts bedrock music outside. His aged accomplishment pup, Mac, sleeps beneath the board in a adequate bed, his graying cage tucked in a blanket.
Including Mac, 12 rescued dogs alive with Troy-Vowell at his home in Cambridge. He absent six others aftermost year, mostly due to old age, he said. His daughter, Soleil, additionally lives there and works at Oh My Dog.
Troy-Vowell, 46, grew up in Cape Cod, Mass., and came to Vermont in 2006. Before aperture Oh My Dog, he formed for the Howard Center with bodies on the autism spectrum.
Oh My Dog started in 2011 as a affiliation with Williston-based All Breed Rescue. Troy-Vowell and his now ex-wife, Mia, active a arrangement with the alignment to abode and affliction for the dogs it rescued and slated for adoption. The brace served as the primary aqueduct for canines transported from high-kill shelters, mostly in the South, to Oh My Dog.
“I alone collection bottomward and brought aback over a thousand dogs,” Troy-Vowell said.
They hadn’t planned to get into a bartering dog daycare and boarding business. Within a brace of years, though, All Breed had agitation advantageous Oh My Dog beneath the arrangement terms, Troy-Vowell said. In 2013, the owners confused to action their account to the public, abacus admonishment and a bound retail section.
Over the years, Troy-Vowell has always adapted the sprawling architecture — and invested $125,000 in dog-friendly faux grass for the comedy area. The business operates seven canicule a week, and he generally works 16-hour days.
“This is a community-driven baby business because of how we started,” Troy-Vowell said, apropos to the accomplishment mission. “That is allotment of the roots and the foundation of this business that I never appetite to change.”
Marc Pratico and his wife alive in North Hero, assignment in Burlington, and drive a few afar further to accompany Tyrone, their high-energy terrier mix, to Oh My Dog. Acceptance his wife began alive from home during the pandemic, Pratico still drops off Tyrone at the daycare at atomic already a week.
“I acclaim small-business owners like him, because he kept the doors open, kept agents on,” Pratico said aback he best up his animated black-and-white pooch aftermost week. He and his wife like that they can see photos of Tyrone adequate himself on Oh My Dog’s amusing media posts. “I’m a close accepter that if you acquisition about that gives you abundant service, it’s not a botheration activity out of the way.”
To accumulate audience and agents safe during the pandemic, Oh My Dog alone the common black gatherings in the antechamber during auto time. Instead, it started curbside service, with agents walking pets to their owners’ cars aloft arrival.
“The curbside account concluded up actuality the best affair that has happened to this business,” Troy-Vowell said, acceptance he awful the abstraction at first. “It’s aloof so abundant added personal.”
Now, Troy-Vowell is attractive advanced again, accomplished the pandemic. For one thing, he’s abiding to a long-considered abstraction of authoritative Oh My Dog an employee-owned business.