With six children to care for, Celest Williams didn't have extra money to pay somebody to groom her pet Schnauzer, Scarlett.
So she taught herself.
"I did all their hair, too," she says of her kids.
Thirteen years later, with her children just about grown, she's putting that skill to work as the owner of Celestial Pet Spaw on West Central.
"I was talking to my husband and said, 'I'm done with kids, what do I do now?’ "
Williams says she's at least the third owner of a pet grooming business in the location. She bought and renamed it in March.
Williams offers doggie haircuts, shampoos and medicated baths, toenail clipping, pad filing, ear cleaning and more. The biggest difference between her and previous owners of the business is that she grooms large dogs as well as small and medium-sized ones.
Williams said she learned basic pooch grooming skills from a book that came with her first pair of dog clippers. She started grooming friends' dogs and worked for Robin Benson at The Doggy Boutique in Goddard.
"She showed me the ropes and how to take care of all the other dogs,” Williams said.
One of the most popular services she offers is a shed treatment for Labradors and other frequent shedders so dog hair "is not all falling in your house."
Williams is the spa's only full-time employee although a friend and niece come in to help on Saturday, her busiest day.
As a first-time business owner, Williams said she has had to learn to deal with everything from vendors to insurance to wondering how to increase visibility for her shop, which sits at the rear of a strip center running perpendicular to Central.
"It's not just going to work," she said. "You have to take it home with you."
Williams said her husband built her a large tub used to bathe big dogs. She kept a couple of doggie-sized cushioned beach chairs left behind by the previous owner.
"Everybody comments on them," she said. "The dogs get up on them."
That includes Scarlett, who's still around and now gets groomed by an experienced professional.
Now you know
Celestial Pet Spaw
Address: 9360 W. Central
Owner: Celest Williams