By STACEY GOODRICH
Sweetbrier Patch is the saving grace for my dogs.
My dogs used to get so scared when we would get within a mile of the groomers. They feel a lot more at ease now that Sweetbrier, a mobile pet grooming company, comes to our house. When I am at home writing then they each get some one-on-one time with me and I think we all love that.
Sweetbrier owner Linnie Veilleux became a resident of Kingston in 1994. Her grandparents built a summer home on Miller Bay in 1942. Back then it was just a summer cabin to visit when they would come from the “big city.” There was no road beyond Bay Marine, so they would have to walk past that point.
Her father grew up on Miller Bay and started his own business reparing outboard motors when he was only 12 years old. Her aunt was a postmaster.
When Veilleux moved here in 1994 from Spokane, she lived in her grandparent’s house on the bay for about a year. Like many people, Veilleux fell in love with Kingston the first time she drove through it.
Veilleux and her husband purchased property on South Kingston 13 years ago. Veilleux said she couldn’t imagine a better place to raise her kids.
The friendly and supportive community and the willingness to help one another makes this place special, she said.
Is there anything she’d change about Kingston?
“I would like to see Kingston offer a dog park at some point in the future,” Veilleux said. “I think there are many dog lovers in our area that would really appreciate a place to take their dogs and socialize.”
Maybe a dog park is just one more thing our growing community needs to work together on.
Veilleux decided to give pet grooming a try about three and a half years ago. She was in between jobs and kicking around ideas of what career to pursue.
A conversation siwht a friend lead led Veilleux to begin researching pet grooming schools and grooming businesses in the area. She found a few schools in the Seattle area and a couple of mobile groomers around the Kitsap Peninsula. But only a few. Her idea started to take off. She took the leap into business and didn’t look back.
“That’s kind of how I am about things. Full speed ahead,” Veilleux said. “I knew that if I wanted my business to work that I would have to offer something different.
“By going mobile this would offer service to your door, less stress on the dogs, and one-on-one attention in a safe and loving environment.”
Her husband, Chuck, began tagging along after about a year and Veilleux added a second trailer to the business. Chuck helps out with bathing some of the larger dogs. The Veilleux’s use only natural and organic products and everything is biodegradable.
Veilleux said the hardest part of starting the business has been commuting to Marysville for grooming school five or six days a week for months during the winter. That is a lot of time to give when you have a family and we are on the peninsula.
All of us who have commuted even know how much dedication it takes.
Veilleux’s reward is getting to set her own hours and spending timewith family. The downside is that there is only one of her, so when she is booked full, she is booked full.
The couple gives to the community as well, by donating gift certificates for local area auctions and volunteering their services at local events.
“We groomed the dogs that were in our son’s classes at Gordon Elementary the past two years as our ‘volunteer’ time,” Veilleux said.
They also have their own discount program for grooming service dogs and dogs of disabled veterans.
“I am hoping to work out some details with the Salvation Army and are hoping to start a program where we can groom some dogs for the homeless. I am a veteran myself, so it means a lot to me go give back where I can,” Veilleux.
Veilleux gives much of of credit for her success to her husband and three sons, Talon, Colin, and Gavin. They are hoping to open a grooming shop in Kingston to go along with the mobile unit.
“The best thing I have learned from running my own business is that as long as you stay true to yourself, be honest with your clients, and do your very best every day then success is sure to follow,” Veilleux said.
Veilleux is part of our family now. We love all she does to our dogs and if my dogs love her and aren’t afraid of her, but instead run up to her even when they know they’re getting a bath it means something.
She is a special lady with a great business.
Stacey Goodrich blogs at http://kingstongirlie.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter at kingstongirlnew find her on Facebook at Kingston Girlnews, or write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.