Darla Leiker was ready for something new after working 30 years in corporate ad sales.
“It was really just time for a change. The ad world had changed a lot since I started all those years ago, and I was ready for something different,” Leiker said.
Leiker pursued something new, which prompted her to open her own dog grooming business, the Bow Wow Salon, 602 E. Fulton St.
Instead of the cliché cubicle office setting, Leiker’s office is now a dog salon, equipped with grooming stations and bath tubs. To make it even better, her husband, Ron, and their Shih Tzu dog, Windsor, get to go to work with her every day.
“What’s not to like about a job where you get to come work every day with your dog and your husband?” Leiker said. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Opening the salon has been a family project, Leiker said.
“My husband was the one that took the back end of this metal building and made it into a dog grooming salon,” Leiker said. ”He redid the floors, built the walls, took care of all the city licenses, plumbing, air conditioning and all those things to turn it into a cute little salon.”
Leiker initially was influenced by her sister-in-law, Kayla Persinger, who owns Kayla’s Happy Tails dog grooming in Dodge City. Leiker did a seven-month apprenticeship with Persinger before opening Bow Wow Salon.
“With her 16 years of experience, I think she taught me more than I ever would’ve learned going to school,” Leiker said.
Leiker also believes there was a need for a grooming service in Garden City because she knows that unless you know someone who knows a groomer, they are pretty hard to find.
“I think the timing was right, too,” Leiker said. “Garden City is growing, and I knew that the times Kayla couldn’t groom our puppy, it was like, ‘Where are we going to take him?’”
At Bow Wow Salon, Leiker will groom dogs of any size and most breeds.
“Whatever the dog needs and whatever the customer wants is what we do,” Leiker said. “If they want the dog shaved, even though it's a Shih Tzu or a Schnauzer, that’s what we give them. Different dog breeds require different shampoos, and we have 10 to 15 different shampoo combinations that we use on the dogs.”
Dog groomings are by appointment only.
The salon also offers nail trimmings and de-shedding. The salon also sales “some the of best leashes and collars made”, that help prevent dogs' fur from matting in the neck area, Leiker said.
Since it’s first official day in business on June 1, business has been great, Leiker said.
“We’re busy, and we’ve been pretty blessed that Garden City has been really receptive to us. It’s been good,” Leiker said. “I think there was a need to have a visible community presence.”
Leiker said she will groom seven to nine dogs a day — though it can vary. And on Friday, she groomed Griswald, a Dachshund, and a Keeshond named Nadia, both owned by Linda Lansdon.
Griswald was sporting a bandana tied to his neck after his grooming as he waited for Nadia to be completed.
Landson said it was her first time taking her furry friends to Bow Wow Salon, and she planned on going back.
“We’ve been wanting to come here. She (Leiker) does everything professionally, and it’s just a nice, clean place,” Landson said. ““It’s been great. She’s really good with them.”
The most rewarding part for Leiker is the fun she has on the job, she said.
“It’s fun to take a dog that needs a little TLC and give it a bath, a hair cut and have the people come back and say, ‘Oh my gosh, they look beautiful.' 'Look how cute they look,’ or ‘This is what I remember my dog looking like,’” Leiker said with a laugh.
For more information or to make an appointment, call the salon at (620) 290-2992
Contact Josh Harbour at email@example.com