After shedding corporate careers, Hot Sulphur Springs couple aims to keep canines clean
March 7, 2017
Grand County is a dog friendly environment.
"They issue you a dog at the top of Berthoud when you move into the County," is a joke I've heard several times since moving here. The local love for our canine companions is on display daily in Middle Park from the pooches you'll meet in many of our local stores to the abundance of four-legged critters found roaming Forest Service trails and regional mountainsides alongside their owners.
About one year ago the Hernandez family of Grand County realized they could combine their love of animals, and dogs in particular, with the existing market for pet-care services. When a business opportunity opened up in Granby they jumped at it and established Clean K-9 Dog Grooming.
Clean K-9 Dog Grooming is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Michael and Maria Hernandez along with their adult son Tim. Originally from southern California, just outside of Los Angeles, the Hernandez's have lived in Grand County since 2003 and currently reside in Hot Sulphur Springs. Prior to starting their own business, all three worked in the corporate banking world.
"I have always loved having an interaction with animals," said Maria. "We had some life changes and we took advantage of the opportunity of getting to be around dogs. We have just been animal lovers and owners all our lives."
"We were in a different chapter in our lives," said her husband Michael. "We wanted to slow down a little bit and this has helped us do that." Michael joked, saying his family went from "banking to barking".
Clean K-9 Dog Grooming is operated from the storefront located at 625 east Agate Avenue in Granby, just slightly east of the US Highway 40 curve heading south out of town. It is in the same location as the old Self Dog Wash business. The Hernandezes personally knew the owner of that business, and when she decided to sell her store they family made their move.
Before starting Clean K-9, the Hernandez family worked as volunteers with various pet- and animal-focused organizations, including Grand County Pet Pals.
Clean K-9 officially opened for business last year on May 1. To celebrate their one-year anniversary, the shop will be holding a reopening ceremony on Saturday, May 6. That day, Clean K-9 will be offering discounts on self-washes and free nail trimming. Clean K-9 is not typically open on Saturdays, but will be keeping the doors open that day for the special occasion.
After one year in business, Maria said she thinks things are going great. Michael was more tempered in his optimism. "It has been great in the sense that we got through the first year," he said chuckling. "There were some ups and downs, especially in the down season, but it has started to pick up again and that is great. It has just been fun. It has been rewarding for us all."
Michael said he and his family have received many positive comments from their patrons and the larger community about their regular business hours, business professionalism and the quality grooming work they see on their pets.
"We appreciate the community's support and the positive comments from folks," he said. "Without doing a good job, people won't come back so we appreciate everyone's support and feedback."
The staff at Clean K-9 includes the businesses three co-owners and their occasional intern Sage Ortega, a student at Middle Park High School who volunteers at the shop on Fridays.
Clean K-9 Dog Grooming offers a host of pet-related services from grooming and bathing to nail trimming, doggy daycare services, self-dog wash stations. The store has a loyalty rewards program wherein patrons who pay for nine groomings can receive a free wash and groom. They also offer discounted self-wash prices if you bring your kids in to help with the process.
The Hernandezes are also socially conscience, offering discounted grooming fees for the Grand County Animal Shelter and law enforcement K-9s and half-off prices for seniors during the first week of each month.
Clean K-9 Dog Grooming is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., though Michael said potential customers can call their business line during off hours and depending on the family's schedule they may be able to accommodate you.
"There have been times we have opened for grooming or self-washes on our days off," Michael said. "At any time give us a call."