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Pet Age recently visited Wash Your Paws, a self-service dog wash and full-service spa in Brick Township, New Jersey, to speak with owner Debbie Ottmer to learn more about the services it offers.

Q: What is the range of services that you offer pet owners?

A: As any store, we offer an assortment of retail and treat products but our main focus is our self-serve dog wash, a DIY experience that suits a good portion of our core customers. We also have a team of pet-loving experienced groomers who offer a full service groom, which includes a bath, de-shedding, a haircut, nail trim and ear cleaning, plus any additional spa treatments a customer may desire. We have recognized that there is an extensive customer base that requires only a bath for their pet. Therefore, we have a trained team of bathers to fulfill that need by providing a bath, de-shedding and blow dry. We are currently considering extending our services to provide day care for the benefit of our customers.

Q: What is included in a self-service bathing experience?

A: We have established our self-service bath as a spa experience. Each pet owner chooses a tub based on their pet. There are six bath stations of various sizes, ranging from high and small to low and giant, for every pet type. We provide the customer with an apron for themselves (to stay dry, LOL) and a bath caddy of spa essentials. Each caddy is filled with fresh towels and washcloths, TropiClean Spa Tear Stain Facial Cleanser, Furminator de-shedding tool, Safari curry brush, slicker brush and comb, plus ear wipes and seasonal cologne. Our expert staff instructs the pet owner on the Hydrosurge Bathpro System and how to properly use the shampoos, conditioners and provided tools to clean their pet. The customer can also choose a specialty shampoo or medicated shampoo for an additional charge to maximize the experience. Forced-air dryers are available to complete the job. During the process the staff is always available to provide the customer with any additional needs. The key to the success of our self-service experience is our genuine and knowledgeable staff.

Q: How do you communicate with potential customers and remain in contact with your clients?

A: Social media is key! We enhance each customer’s experience with a posted photo and shoutout on their beloved pet. Our team makes the customer feel like one of the family here at Wash Your Paws because they love the pets we care for as much as the owner. Bragging on social media about a customer’s pet is No. 1. Customers feel appreciated and share the post with family and friends creating a larger potential customer base. In addition, we request each customer’s email so we can keep in touch with the customers for deals and promotions. We are creating a community and becoming a part of the neighborhood by doing off-site events and/or providing gift auction donations. We have set up a community board where people can post information. Our goal is to have people, potential customers, from all aspects of life here in Brick and surrounding areas, to know that we care about them and their pets.

Q: Do you host in-store events to bring in new customers?

A: This past fall, we hosted “Barktober Fest,” which included a costume parade and contest. In addition, we opened up a play area for the pets to enjoy themselves as our customers helped themselves to snacks and their own beverages. We ran a breast cancer fund raiser with a 50/50 drawing and raffled off a basket of grooming products with an assortment of treats and toys. We also recently hosted a “Paint Pawty” night, similar to a paint and sip, where the paws of our pets finish off the artistic creation of their owner.

Q: What are the most popular hard goods that you stock for your customers?

A: We definitely focus on grooming products for in-between baths/grooms for our customers pet’s with skin conditions. We offer a wide variety of medicated shampoos, sprays, etc. Additionally, ear and dental care products are big sellers, with Zymox and TropiClean Fresh Breath being at the top of the list. Our grooming staff provides our customers with professional knowledge on the benefits and how to use the each product for the best care of their pet. Our No. 1 seller is CBD treats and oils, which is in part due to the trend of the category but essentially for the benefit of the pet. Our desire is to see the pet live its best life.

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