Joanna has had a VERY impressive and successful grooming career with PetSmart. She took the time to share some of her favorite parts and walk us through her journey with the company over the last 3 decades. Check it out below!
I got hired as a Salon Manager (as they called it then instead of Salon Leader) to have the opportunity to be part of a great team to open up a brand new PetSmart location in Chandler, AZ.
I was in charge of opening an empty salon with the help of a wonderful Bather/Brusher named B.J. They were hired the same time I was, and with the help of a great Store Leader, we were able to hire other great stylists to join our team, and I began my successful grooming career of 30 years with PetSmart.
Besides the Salon Manager/Leader position itself, I also loved having good team support, the benefits of good wages, making commission and bonus opportunities, good insurance, vacation, sick, and holiday pay, and being able to transfer to any location in the country.
I transferred to the Prescott location in 2004, which already had a Salon Leader, so I was able to transfer to being a Pet Stylist. The first year was tough—having to build up my clientele and the pay, but now, almost 17 years later, I am very happy I made the move and have a solid clientele and a great store and salon to work in.
One of my favorite memories over the years was meeting the original owner of PetSmart, Jim Dougherty, who came to see us when we opened. I was able to visit with him, and he toured the stores himself frequently.
I built up a lot of my business and clientele with "puppy flyers." I would take the puppy flyers out on the floor and talk to new puppy owners to bring in their puppies for their first groom. Once I got them in for their first bath and groom, I continued to book many of them into their senior years.
For a while, we had special days for certain breeds of dogs and cats called "Breed Days."
I love grooming cats, and I loved coming in on the cat breed day and pampering cats on those specific days. I also love taking photos of the pets we groom, putting hats and bling on them, and sending fun photos to pet parents. Here are some of my holiday favorites!
For Christmas, PetSmart always makes it possible for the stores to have a holiday dinner together, and in the past, we were able to go to a restaurant with all employees, which was fun because we got to interact more with associates than were just in the salon. I look forward to the holiday dinner every year, which is now delivered to the store in the break room and is always delicious food. It's fun being able to relax and interact with each other. Once did a White Elephant Christmas presents party!
I also remember the Grooming Academy fondly. We always had a well-trained bather in the pipeline to go to the Grooming Academy—which is a great program. Our store ended up with many great Pet Stylists this way which helped to make for a very high-producing salon.
Most of all fondest memories are of working with great employees. I have had 11 or 12 different Store Leaders in the 30 years i have worked for PetSmart and each has supported me. I worked with a Leader named Todd and he was one of the best. I was so happy when I heard that he got promoted to be our Salon District Manager and still get to see him in action when he comes to visit us. I know he will continue to do well and I hope to work with him as our District Manager for many more years.
I also remember the launch of Martha Stewart line in 2010 and Bret Michaels Pets Rock line launch in 2012. Those were fun times!
I would describe PetSmart as: Fun, Beneficial, and PETS!
Over the last 30 years, PetSmart has changed from a small startup pet food/supplies company selling out their garage company and evolved to opening stores called PetFood Warehouse—opening in 1987 doing a lot of animal welfare and adoptions.
In 1989 PetsMart became the new name and they opened grooming salons and stores in Canada and Puerto Rico in addition to the U.S. With all that growth and introduction of the PetsHotels and continued great animal welfare programs and doing so well, it continued to grow and is now the PetSmart we all know and love now!
It has been a great 30 years for sure.