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Simply the Best

Just for Paws aims for — and achieves — excellence in all areas of the business.

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Just For Paws, St. Charles, IL

OWNERS: John and Lindsay Webb; URL:justforpaws.com; FOUNDED: 2014; EMPLOYEES: 5 full-time; AREA: 2,800 square feet; FACEBOOK: facebook.com/justforpawssalon; INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/just_for_paws


WHEN JOHN AND LINDSAY WEBB opened Just for Paws in 2014, John groomed full-time and Lindsay worked at the salon on Saturdays. They have since evolved their roles and their business.

John now manages the four groomers and one bather, delegating much of the hands-on work unless needed during busy times.

“I still love to groom,” he says, “but I wasn’t spending enough one-on-one time with my employees, mentoring them. And I was finding it hard to get things done that needed to be done, like installing a new bathing tub.”

Lindsay left a teaching career to join Just for Paws full-time two years ago, shortly after the couple expanded their award-winning salon into retail.

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“I loved being a teacher, but I felt like I could help the business continue to grow,” she says. “So I took the leap.”

The result: John and Lindsay can now best serve their team, clients and customers, and the community of St. Charles, IL.

Just for Paws Owners John and Lindsay Webb

John and Lindsay Webb are the husband-and-wife team behind Just for Paws.

Wish List

Each year, John and Lindsay ask the staff to create a workplace wish list, a carryover from Lindsay’s teaching days when her principal would provide funds for enhancing the work environment.

“We do the same with our team.” She explains, “We ask them, ‘What would bring out the best employee in you?’ We love it. Their personalities come out in what they request.”

For example, an organizationally minded team member asked for boards behind the reception desk to better track forms and messages. One with stress in mind requested pheromone and scent diffusers for the pups and people. Another staff member wanted walkie-talkies to improve communication between the grooming and retail sides.

“We eventually upgraded to a phone system with intercoms, which was even more efficient, but we wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for her initial request.”

The next workplace wish list will allow employees to pick grooming equipment, specifically.

“I’m excited to see what comes in,” Lindsay says.

John & Lindsay Webb

Also contributing to the calm and comfortable environment at Just for Paws are John and Lindsay’s design choices.

On the grooming side, light pours through large windows into the wide open room, complete with sky blue walls and rich faux-wood floors.

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“I’ve worked in places that didn’t even have windows,” John shares. “I wanted the space to feel warm, for our employees not to have to look at cinder block all day and for the dogs to feel at home.”

The color palette extends throughout the business, but while grooming has touches of the modern thanks to equipment in white and metal finishes, the retail area — a former real estate office — reflects even more of the couple’s personal style.

“We live in an 1892 farmhouse and use it as inspiration,” Lindsay says. “Before the store opened, we rented a truck and drove to Indiana.” John adds, “We went picking.”

They found barn wood to wrap around the check-in and check-out desks, as well as most of the vintage pieces that serve as fixtures and accents.

“We have fun refinishing, upcycling and repurposing,” Lindsay says, adding that clients often say they are the pet store version of “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Pleasant Surprises

Just for Paws pet gazebo

Bogey gets comfy in one of the pet gazebos for grooming clients.

Just like the celebrity couple’s retail offerings, John and Lindsay only offer the highest quality, with a focus on U.S. and local companies. Kin + Kind shampoos are available in specialty grooming packages and for sale. Fromm, Stella & Chewy’s, Vital Essentials and Earth Animal are among the bestsellers. And Illinois brands include DogGone Good martingale collars and Petipet functional treat bars.

The entire team can make product recommendations during grooming checkout, and they regularly do.

“Grooming is so important to the health of a dog. We aren’t vets, but we see the dog every month and are hands-on,” John says. “We can offer a balm to help with hot spots or a mobility bar for soreness.”

Lindsay adds, “That is much more impactful than a simple sales pitch, and it’s our knowledgeable and well-trained staff that sets us apart.”

Surprises also impress and result in return visits. First-time grooming clients get an automatic 20 percent off they didn’t expect.

“It’s a great interaction, right off the bat, and is very memorable from the customer’s point of view,” Lindsay says.

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The discount boosts rebooking, as does the free Just for Paws Puppy Essentials Pack introduced this year amid a flurry of new puppy clients. It contains full-size bestselling puppy products and a 10-percent off coupon, all in a reusable Bogey’s Buddies tote bag featuring the couple’s English Springer Spaniel.

“They are just blown away,” Lindsay says, adding that customers are coming back for the edible items. “We’ve seen a good return rate.”

The couple prefers micro-marketing efforts such as these to more traditional advertising. John graduated with a degree in marketing before attending grooming school, and he points to sponsoring the local Little League team as another way their business can combine community support with boosting brand recognition.

PHOTO GALLERY (15 IMAGES)

Five Cool Things About Just For Paws

1. FAUX-FARMHOUSE: Original wooden barn doors add to the farmhouse aesthetic, but they can be hard to find, heavy and quite expensive. Lindsay shares a tip: Home Depot sells barn door kits, and they used them. “I picked a light gray stain. Customers are always asking where I found them.”

2. KODA: The Campton Hills K-9 gets free grooming for life at Just for Paws. John says, “We’re lucky because we’re the only people outside of his handler who get to interact with him. They trust us enough to leave Koda with us.” Fundraising T-shirts are also available, with 100 percent of sales going toward the German Shepherd Dog’s care.

3. FLASH SALES: If grooming has a suddenly open spot or retail wants to move excess product, they can send an alert via text to opted-in clients and customers. Lindsay says, “We can grab their attention and get a quick turnaround.”

4. BOGEY: Not only does the couple’s pup adorn totes, but he also serves as ambassador for the Bogey Bucks loyalty program as well as the Bogey Bulk Box and Bogey Mystery Box. The boxes were especially popular and helpful to the bottom line when COVID-19 shut down grooming for six weeks. Lindsay says, “People loved getting a delivery on their doorstep and sending them to friends.”

5. PET GAZEBOS: Dogs waiting for their turn on the table or to be picked up relax in their own pet gazebo in the grooming area. The canopied kennels also are available for sale on the retail side.

Pamela Mitchell is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Ty the Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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