Elegantly Coiffed Pets
Primp My Pooch in Little River is improving the looks of hundreds of Brunswick and Horry county cats and dogs.
When Joyce and Geoffrey Frank moved from Columbus, Ohio, to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 1991, the timing was perfect timing. Geoff was making a career change, and they both wanted to live in a warmer climate, so their favorite vacation spot became their permanent home. Working in construction, Geoff soon discovered there were more projects underway in North Carolina so they moved to Brunswick County.
For 30 years Joyce worked in the restaurant and bar industry, but she was intrigued with the idea of opening her own business. Noting that the Calabash and Little River areas needed a full-time dog and cat groomer, in 2008 Joyce started Primp My Pooch. Her 450-square-foot shop is located in Little River, a stone’s throw from the North Carolina border.
Joyce started out slowly, working three days a week doing dog grooming and three days in the restaurant business, and in short order she gained lots of furry customers. The sole owner of Primp My Pooch, Joyce is pet tech CPR and first aid-certified, plus she attended the Groomadog Academy. She has two full-time employees, Christina and Cindy, who joined her as groomers.
The team works Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm and during the holiday season has been known to work seven days a week. They see 1,500 regular customers every four to six weeks and groom 20 dogs a day. Often there’s a wait list. Customers usually drop off their pets on the hour for a three-hour stay. Primp My Pooch also offers $10 walk-in nail trims. When people enter the lobby, they can see right into the grooming area and speak with the groomers. The salon also carries a small selection of supplies, special shampoos and seasonal items.
For regulars, many dogs know where they’re going and look forward to being bathed, hand dried and primped.
“We try to make it relaxing for the pets and their pet parents,” Joyce says. “Going to a new place can be anxiety producing, but I’ll put three or four small dogs in a gated area off the grooming section so they can rest on the doggie beds, drink some fresh water and socialize with each other while waiting to get groomed. The large dogs stay in the grooming area with us.”
Joyce, an animal lover who bred Himalayan Persian cats for many years, has a soft spot for felines, so she grooms them. “I’ll schedule an entire day to groom eight cats,” she says.
Christina likes to do poodle cuts and try creative designs on the dogs. Cindy is a former veterinarian technician who’s now a groomer. They all have dogs at home. Joyce has two Siberian huskies, Maya and Zeus, and both Christina and Cindy have puppies. The resident shop cat and salon mascot is a Maine coon named Samantha, who was a stray kitten Joyce took in 12 years ago.
Joyce says her customer base is a mix of locals, second homeowners and visitors. “Many snowbirds and vacationers in Brunswick and Horry counties have become regular customers when they’re in town,” she says. “It’s a good business that’s growing all the time.”
In fact, the owner of the building plans to add a new, larger facility this year next to the salon’s existing building. Once it’s open, Primp My Pooch will have grooming and boarding capabilities.
“I’m really excited about all of the possibilities!” Joyce says.
Have a pet that needs primping?
Primp My Pooch
2593 U.S. Highway 17, Little River
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm