Staffordshire’s first purpose-built indoor self-service dog wash, Happy Henry’s! opened at Amerton Farm, Stowe-by-Chartley, in April.
The business is the idea of Staffordshire born Victoria Shepherd. Originally from the nearby village of Salt, she returned to the UK from the US to be closer to family during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shepherd said: “I returned from the USA to England in September 2020 with my dog Henry. One day, after a rather muddy walk I went in search of a local self-service dog wash in Stafford, something I used a lot in California. However, my search for a DIY dog wash proved fruitless.”
“Work was scarce in video production, my chosen line of work, so I decided that there was an opportunity to build a new business, something with very little competition that involved the thing I am most passionate about, dogs.
“I know from experience of my dog Henry, a 34kg five-year-old lab-hound, that having somewhere to go for a quick rinse or shampoo and blow dry whilst not having to deal with a dirty bathroom and towels, as well as an aching back, is a bonus.”
“I had contacted Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce for advice on setting up my business and I was fortunate to assigned Aly Davidson to guide me along each step of the way. Aly is very passionate about helping new businesses and she made sure I had everything in place prior to my launch such as finance, accounting, legal requirements, marketing and much more.”
Shepherd’s top priority when designing the space at Happy Henry’s! was the safety of dog clients. Having her own anxious pup, she understood how stressful an experience washing can be for dogs and their owners. A visual divider is installed around the special dog spa station, as well as a safety gate for added peace of mind. Currently, there is just one spa unit with demand is increasing for the limited appointment slots. She hopes to add a second spa in the coming weeks.
Rescue dogs are given their first bath free of charge at Happy Henry’s! upon presentation of adoption papers. And for customers who register online, the first visit to the spa will cost just £5.
Shepherd added: “The owners of Amerton Farm Ltd have been really welcoming to Happy Henry’s! as a new tenant. We have many customers and their dogs who are already enjoying our exciting new state of the art dog spa experience.”
Amerton Farm MD, Eunice Finney said: “Happy Henry’s! is a great service and a superb addition to our facilities. Victoria has done a great job in setting up the venture and we look forward to welcoming her customers as part of a great day out at Amerton Farm.”