Pet Owners Turn Separation Anxiety into Business Plan


Small Business Spotlight: Wag ‘N Wash Healthy Pet Center, @WagWash

Who: Jef Strauss and Dan Remus

What: Wag ‘N Wash Healthy Pet Center

Where: Denver, Colorado

When: 1999

How: “We both had jobs that keep us away from home too long,” says Remus.

“We had a Dalmatian named Geni, and we were kind of feeling like not the best parents. I wanted to leave my corporate job and start a business where I could take her to work every day, and that was the seed,” says Remus.

The end result became Wag ‘N Wash, a self- and full-service pet grooming salon and pet bakery.

Since launching, Wag ‘N Wash has expanded to five company-owned locations and three franchises.

“We have a facility set up and designed for customers to come in, bring their dogs and bathe them. We have everything they need – all the shampoos, conditioners, towels, brushes, combs and blow-dryers,” says Remus.

Biggest challenge: “It was self-funded. We took a loan out on our house,” says Strauss, who says banks turned down the pair. “The banks’ first reaction was, that’s a stupid idea, because why compete with Petco and Petsmart?” says Strauss.

One moment in time: Remus says he’s proud that the business has had a positive impact on the relationships pet owners have with their dogs. “Our dogs and our pets are family members, and we are trying to do what we feel is best for our family members,” says Remus.

Best business advice: The business owners agree that “follow your passion” is the best tip they’ve received.