By Kate McGregor
Jayme Montero loves animals. The young woman took her love to the next level and opened up Purrdy Paws Pet Grooming Spa in March 2016, a new business on Bank Street that specializes in grooming for cats and dogs.
Montero grew up on a farm near Pembroke in the Ottawa Valley and knew from an early age that animals would be her life calling. She worked at the Bells Corners Animal Hospital for five years following school and a career in the restaurant business. Then, she plunged into intensive studies at the National Cat Groomers Institute of America in South Carolina, graduating in 2013 as a certified master feline groomer, the 151st in the world to receive that certification.
Understanding that cats can be finicky customers, Montero came up with a creative business idea, a mobile pet grooming truck to offer customers in the Ottawa area feline care without having to leave home. In fact, her truck was the first exclusive feline mobile of its kind. She currently grooms approximately 100 cats a month. Building on its success, she then designed a second vehicle specializing in canine grooming services.
Word of mouth spread about the plucky young woman behind the wheel of the big truck outfitted with a grooming station and water supply. Customers, particularly seniors, owners with mobility challenges and owners of pets with mobility issues, sought her services and business blossomed.
Montero finally made the bold decision to open a storefront operation. While she does not live in the Glebe – she, her husband, and three daughters live in Kanata, along with five Chihuahuas and one Persian cat – she chose the Glebe because she wanted to be part of a neighbourhood that embraced small business.
Montero took ownership in January 2016 of her property in the space vacated by Pom Pom. In just three months, the interior of the former clothing store for women was transformed. A new floor was installed and glassed-in area with grooming tables was established at the rear of the shop. An inviting front reception area was built to showcase pet foods and accessories. And of course, there is the issue of purple.
Montero loves purple, a colour that appears on the exterior of her store and continues inside. As she said, “I love the colour purple. It just makes me happy. I have purple on my trucks. I have purple in my hair. I just wanted to bring that positive happy feeling that I get with the colour purple.”
Cat grooming is an art that requires skill and patience to keep finicky and matted felines calm. As a master feline groomer, Montero advocates the use of “soft paws,” nail caps for cats, as a humane way of ensuring cats do not scratch. She is opposed to de-clawing, a cruel and painful procedure that can cause arthritis and phantom pain in cats and that many veterinarians now refuse to perform. She provides pro bono grooming for rescue cats and for LAWS, an animal shelter in Lanark. As she noted, “Unhappy kitties are cranky when they are matted and I help get them comfortable, out of pain and adoptable.”
While Montero spends most of her time behind the wheel of her trucks, her team of expert in-house groomers look after the dogs and cats that come to the store.
Montero takes pride in the fact that all of the products on her store shelves are made from natural products and are either Canadian-made or from the Ottawa region, including pet toys, cat trees, pet foods and other accessories.
Purrdy Paws will be offering free home delivery of big bags of food and litter in the near future, a service guaranteed to appeal to health-conscious pet owners who either don’t drive or who choose not to drive in the Glebe.
Montero is young. She has piercings and tattoos. But more than that, she is one savvy business owner who dreams big. At press time, she was planning a grand opening on May 28 for her business in collaboration with Ladies Who Lunch that would include a fundraiser for the displaced pets of Fort McMurray.
Kate McGregor is a certified Integral Master Coach™ and writes the Business Buzz column for the Glebe Report. To inquire about her services: 613-884-1864; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.kmcoaching.ca