Wagging tails, happy meows infuse formerly vacant Midtown neighborhood store with new life

Professional dog and cat groomer Jennifer Lotterman has found a welcoming home for her business in the Midtown neighborhood, which she didn't want to leave. When she decided to relocate her year-old Cats Vs Dogs Pet Grooming Salon and Boutique from E. Fulton St. NE, it was an easy choice to move it to 36 Grand Ave. NE, just a few blocks away.

The tiny building nestles cozily between two-story homes in Grand Rapids' historic Brikyaat (Brickyard). It was once a typical neighborhood grocery store, and most recently a hair salon, but has been vacant for a number of years.

Cats Vs Dogs' previous location had the unique conundrum of being both too big and too small, Lotterman says. It was more space than she needed for the retail pet boutique, yet she "couldn't use the back of the building because it was too cold. We had to move all the animal kennels into the grooming area, and it made it a little too crowded."

The new location offers a small fenced-in back yard, plus an entry that's on a quieter street than Fulton.

"Clients are telling us they like it better because the traffic's not as busy for walking animals in and out," says Lotterman. "It's in a quaint area and is more homey."

Lotterman says she is a certified cat groomer through the National Cat Groomers Institute of America. She's also certified through the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists and has special training as a dermatox specialist to detect and identify skin and coat diseases.

Lotterman painted the inside of the shop her favorite color -- pink -- and created a separate area for bathing and drying cats and dogs, plus added a retail boutique offering pet treats, leashes, collars, and grooming tools.

"I love my job and every day I go to work and I love what I do," says Lotterman of her 20 years' experience. "I love the animals and the people. I'm always learning new techniques and using the latest and greatest products."

Hours: Tues. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Cats Vs Dogs Pet Grooming Salon and Boutique

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