Dog-grooming business started at 17 still going strong

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
Kim Sorensen dreamed of being a veterinarian as a child, but instead turned to dog grooming. After starting in her parent's garage at 17, she now has her own shop called the Hair Wrangler. The business has been in operation for five years. Her goal is to groom 10 dogs a day.

COLUMBIA — When Kim Sorensen was a little girl, she wanted to be a veterinarian.

Instead, she chose dog grooming because she did not want to work with dying animals.

At 17, Sorensen graduated from high school and headed to St. Louis for 448 hours of training at the Missouri School of Dog Grooming, where she learned about shampoos, skin conditions and specialty cuts that are breed-specific.

She returned to Boone County five years ago and with her family's help, set up a grooming business called the Hair Wrangler.

“When I first started, I was doing it in my parents' garage,” she said. Her makeshift grooming table was a ladder, and she bathed the dogs in a wash rack that held hot water for horses.

In 2007, she moved to a small building with two customized rooms next to her house.

One of the rooms holds two hydrolic grooming tables and a cabinet with all of her supplies — scissors, brushes and clippers. Hanging in a corner from the ceiling, a set of bandannas are clipped to a plastic chain.

The other room has a wall of six kennels, a bathing tub and a shelf of shampoo and other grooming supplies. Under the bathing tub are two carriers for small dogs. Sorensen’s goal for each day is to groom 10 dogs.

Her parents are still involved. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, her mother, Michelle Sorensen, bathes dogs for Kim. Her mom also works on dogs that need only a bath and brush-out.

In the past five years, Sorensen’s business has become successful enough to let her quit a second grooming job in Columbia.

“I finally have enough business to get me through the winter.” 

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