Madera grad opens pet grooming business
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Heather Stuckey of Spas 4 Paws grooms Rosie. Stuckey, along with Amanda Zaragoza, officially opened Spas 4 Paws in November.
When Amanda Zaragoza thought of opening her Spas 4 Paws pet grooming business (100 East 7th St., Ste. 114), the first place she thought of was Madera.
“Madera would be the best place to open,” she said. “My family is here and they know everybody. Heather loves it here and she’s kind of used to it.”
Zaragoza, who graduated from Madera High School in 2008 and also played on the girls soccer team, officially opened Spas 4 Paws with groomer Heather Stuckey on Nov. 1.
“We are animal groomers, mostly dogs,” she said. “We give dogs baths, ear cleaning, nail trimming and all the other stuff. We’re like a spa for animals.”
While Zaragoza knows Madera, she defers to Stuckey for doing the actual work.
“Heather is the magic behind it and makes us the money,” Zaragoza said. “I just assist. She’s the one that does everything.”
Last year, Zaragoza and Stuckey sat down to figure out what they wanted to do. Stuckey has been a dog groomer for more than 12 years and was working in Fresno. They decided to open their own shop.
“We sat down and decided that it would be good if we did it on our own,” Zaragoza said. “The only place I thought about was Madera because there was only one other place that was legitimate. Since I had family in Madera and I grew up here, they all had pets. The need for it was there; that’s why we chose Madera.”
Although opening a business during the COVID-19 pandemic could be a little risky, Zaragoza has not had as much struggle as she thought.
“So far, opening a business during a pandemic has been pretty good,” she said. “As dog grooming goes, we will have our slow months. However, since we’ve been open, we’re doing pretty good. We’ve been consistent and pretty steady. There’s been nothing to say we’ve been too affected by it. Dog grooming is a necessity for the animals.”
One of the things that Zaragoza has been seeing because of the pandemic and stay-at-home order are a lot more puppies coming in to get their hair cut.
“There are a lot of new puppies,” she said. “We haven’t seen a slow down yet. That was something I was worried about. People are still caring about their animals.”
After opening Nov. 1, Zaragoza is celebrating her grand opening with a 20 percent off special.
“Every client, we are giving 20 percent off for their first visit,” she said. “That’s to get the word out. So far, it’s been pretty good. We’re still trying to get the word out. We are getting new clients and people are starting to hear about us.”
Additionally, Zaragoza partnered with the Friends of the Madera County Animal Shelter. They have also participated with the FMAS at numerous events over the past year, including Halloween and Christmas events.
“They have donated a lot of stuff for us here,” she said. “When people come in, they can pick up a leash, toys or pet beds, donate to the Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter and we give the FMAS 100 percent. People come in and grab a leash. They donate and we give the money back to the FMAS.”
Spas 4 Paws is open Tuesday-Saturday by appointment only.
“That also helps with the pandemic,” Zaragoza said. “We only want one person in at a time. We’re here from about 8:30 a.m. until about 3 p.m. sometimes. We only have me and Heather working. We do everything by ourselves.”
Since opening her business, Zaragoza is pleased to see so many people that she knew growing up.
“Since I’ve been back into town, it’s been really good seeing people,” she said. “I see people from high school. It’s been nice. I always end up knowing somebody when we go into town. That’s the good thing about Madera. It’s small and you know a lot of people. Word gets around pretty quick.”
Zaragoza also admits it’s a little weird seeing her old soccer teammates.
“It’s been really nice to see everyone,” she said. “I have a couple of appointments with people I played soccer with. The weird part about it is that we’re all grown up now.”