Sunday February 10, 2013

GREAT BARRINGTON -- Wash and Wag, Robin and Joe Mallory's pet grooming business, will still accept animals of all sizes and be decorated in pink, but now it won't be rolling away on wheels after a grooming.

For more than a decade, the New Marlborough couple have run a pet grooming business from a pink mobile van. But entering their late 50s, the Mallorys have decided to delay any thoughts of retirement and roll the dice on a $40,000 venture to set up a salon at 389 White House Square on Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington.

Their salon will open Feb. 16.

"Every day we wake up and we can't wait to go to work," Robin Mallory said. "It's just fun and that's why we are doing it. If it's successful we are looking to open another store."

Wash & Wag's services include shampooing, nail clipping, de-shedding, de-matting, puppy cuts and brush outs. The cost of a grooming can range from $45 up to $100 depending on the dog, she said.

"We're very confident there is a great need in Great Barrington," she added.

For about five years, the busy couple has been restricted on the number of clients it could accept because of an already full schedule, Robin Mallory said, but the new salon will allow them to accept walk-in clients. They teamed with partners to open the business and also hired two new employees, which Robin Mallory says will allow them to continue to provide the quality service they've become known for.

And, of course, the salon walls are pink, Robin's favorite color, which will match the gloves and aprons.

"We considered other trucks but it's not feasible because [the price is expensive]," Robin Mallory said.

Despite running two businesses, the Mallorys have never had a need to rent an office or a salon. They worked from home when they ran the garbage disposal business Master Garbologist and continued the practice with Wag and Wash starting in 2002.

The couple purchased the mobile pet grooming business from a Lenox couple that was preparing to retire.

The business has flourished in recent years, said Robin Mallory, who earned certified groomer degree from the Connecticut School of Grooming in North Haven, Conn.

Pittsfield resident Crisse MacFadyen has been dependent on the couple to groom her West Highland Terrier since moving to the Berkshires from Rhode Island.

MacFadyen's terrier had a poor experience with a new groomer. She left three messages for Wag and Wash, but the couple was too booked to accept new clients. One day she saw the Wag and Wash pink van out in West Stockbridge and went running after the truck, landing her dog a coveted spot on the schedule.

"It sounds silly but if you're a dog owner you want as little stress as possible and most dogs don't want to be bathed anyway."