Detroit pet shop, groomer team up to offer grooming services

Latonya Smith's business, LC's Mobile Pet Spa took a big hit when the pandemic prevented her from going into clients' homes.

She was providing grooming services to more than 300 cats and dogs before COVID.

"The pandemic really hit me really, really hard," Smith said. "Grooming pets has always been my passion. Working with animals has been my passion, so it was actually very sad because I didn't get to see the fur kids."

Latonya Smith grooms a dog

Smith started posting pet grooming tutorials to her Instagram page to teach pet owners how to take care of grooming, but it wasn't the same. She was feeling hopeless, and it got worse when she lost her grandmother, Emma Mae, to the virus.

But there was a light for Smith.

Detroit pet store City Bark owner Jamie Judson and Smith had been discussing adding pet grooming services to the shop for years. 

The pandemic made adding the services a necessity.

"We really needed to figure out another revenue stream for our business. How do we get more people in? How do we provide them with a service?" Judson said.

Judson entered a competition through Rocket Mortgage called Detroit Demo Day and pitched the idea. She won a grant to add salon services to her pet supply store.

"To finally stop talking about it and really move forward with it is really exciting," she said.

City Bark now offers grooming by Latonya, as well as a self-service area for pet owners to bathe their pets on their own.

"if you're really passionate about what you enjoy doing, do it. Just find another way to pivot and to be successful and be in the field you want to be in," Smith said. "Just don't stop."