EASY DOES IT
Kansas City, Kan.-based Shor-Line introduced its Big Top Grooming Table
last year. It offers almost 6 inches of extra length to make large dogs more
comfortable and reduce the risk of dogs slipping. The electric lift operates on
either side of the unit and lifts up to 200 pounds from 20 inches to 41 inches,
the manufacturer stated.
“We developed the Big Top Grooming Table in response to groomers who
told us they were seeing more large animals,” said Holly Gibson, manager of
marketing and innovation. “Safety is important to Shor-Line, so it is the only
CSA/UL-listed grooming table. This means the unit needed to be verified to
meet stringent standards for manufacturing this unit.”
The table comes in several bright colors—plum perfect, screamin’ green,
burnt orange, electric pink, silver vein and Shor-Line blue—and features a
long-lasting, powder-coated finish designed to stand up to cleaners.
ComfortGroom, based in Baldwin Park, Calif., recently launched the
Rotating Z lift table, which rotates a full 360 degrees and locks in at eight
different places. The tabletop features thick, waterproof high-density board
with a nonskid, easy-to-clean textured pebble surface, rounded corners for
safety and a hammer paint finish, the company stated.
Addressing the fact that so much of today’s business is handled through
mobile devices, Phoenix-based Ryan’s Pet Supplies is developing a Paw
Brothers Professional electric grooming table that will have a built-in USB
port to charge phones and personal devices, an under-table shelf to set a
phone and personal items, and under-table hooks for hanging clippers and
“Groomers want the convenience of having it nearby, charged and
ready,” said Michelle Austin, director of marketing/purchasing for Ryan’s Pet
Supplies. “Having a place to hang equipment will help prevent items from
being knocked on the floor and broken. The table will also feature a handheld
control that can be used from any place around the table, as opposed to a
pedal system, which requires the groomer to walk around the table to where
Also recognizing groomers’ desire for fun colors in their workspace,
Ryan’s will introduce colored grooming arms.
“They don’t make the job any easier, but groomers are creative and color
is fun,” Austin said.
Groomers can also expect new releases from Groomers Helper, based in
Margate City, N.J. President Chuck Simons said that in response to requests
for a way to use Groomers Helper in the bath, the company is developing a
system that will retrofit existing tubs and will come standard in the company’s new tubs.
Professional grooming is a physically demanding career,
and an individual’s equipment choices can make or break
their business—and their back. The industry has taken
notice, and innovative ergonomic solutions keep groomers
healthier for the long haul.
“In my early years of grooming, there were not any
electric tables that I was aware of—only hydraulic,” said
Connie Bailey, owner of The Pet Spa in Phoenix. “Thanks
to groomers’ understanding what they need to save their
backs and time—and time is money—industry manu-
facturers came up with the electric tables. [And] they
continue to improve with input from groomers.”
Holly Gibson, manager of marketing and innovation at
Shor-Line in Kansas City, Kan., reported that more people
want grooming services, which is great for groomers, but
cautioned that larger volumes also demand more work.
“Professional groomers combine both superior artistry
and technical grooming skill to help dogs keep their coats
not only good looking, but also healthy,” she said. “It takes
a physical toll on groomers’ hands, wrists, back, shoulders
and elbows. When the table takes on some of the burden,
then the groomer can be the artist and pamper the pet.”
Hydraulic and electric lift tables are designed to quietly
raise pets to comfortable heights for groomers to work,
and grooming arms enable professionals to choose the
best position for each client, she added.
“An electric table is now the standard, which is a big
asset in preventing work injuries,” said Michelle Austin,
director of marketing/purchasing at Ryan’s Pet Supplies,
based in Phoenix. “Grooming is physically demanding, and
any time a piece of equipment can increase work safety or
reduce repetitive movement, that is a plus.”
Other advances have included tables with wheels and
casters to enable easy movement around the grooming
salon, as well as products that lower enough for large dogs
to step on and off instead of needing to be lifted.
“The science of ergonomics provides information to
help both professionals and casual enthusiasts brush and
groom dogs efficiently to help minimize the physical stress
on the groomer,” Gibson said. “By training yourself to lift,
bend and change grooming positions in certain ways, you
can help protect your body. Just minimizing torso twisting
with good positioning can protect your back.”
She added that even the little things such as rounded
edges and easy-grip surfaces on tables make grooming
easier for the professional and more enjoyable for pets.
“Square tables get the job done, but groomers kept
telling us they would be bruised at the end of long days,”
she said. “The rounded corners are more forgiving.”
INVESTIGATE BEFORE PURCHASING
When it comes to purchasing equipment for mobile and storefront grooming
businesses, industry insiders agreed that education is imperative.
“Groomers need to do their due diligence when it comes to purchasing a
grooming table,” said Chuck Simons, president of Groomers Helper, based in
Margate City, N.J. “If they purchase the wrong one, they will pay for it every
Carol Visser, a certified master groomer and pet dog trainer, and product
expert at PetEdge, based in Beverly, Mass., agreed, adding that consumer
education allows groomers to make informed buying decisions to get the right
tools or equipment to meet their needs. For example, mobile groomers must
consider how a purchase will fit their limited space, she said.
Grooming tables represent a significant investment, so Michelle Austin,
director of marketing/purchasing at Ryan’s Pet Supplies, based in Phoenix,
emphasized how important it is that groomers understand what they are
getting for the money.
“It’s important to understand the warranty, if replacement parts are available and the durability,” she said. “If you work with a lot of big dogs, you need
to make sure to select a table that is rated for higher weights and is stable
going up and down with significant weight.
“Mobile groomers have limited space to work in, and electricity can be a
challenge,” she added. “It is important for them to have a clear understanding
of their units’ capacity and space before selecting equipment.”
Key methods of groomer education include trade magazines, manufacturer
literature and websites, social media and shows.
Vanessa Bland, head groomer, co-owner and manager of Healthi Paws in
Valparaiso, Ind., said groomers there read grooming magazines, service magazines online, and attend shows and conventions to educate themselves.
At The Pet Spa in Phoenix, owner Connie Bailey also uses shows and
company literature to stay educated.
“There are many grooming shows all over the country, which are great ven-
ues to discuss tools, tables, tricks of the trade, etc.,” she said. “Many groomers
do not attend and need another outlet such as bloggers, grooming sites,
newsletters and grooming catalogs.”
Julie Rust, a National Dog Groomers Association of America national certi-
fied master groomer and owner of The Fluffy Ruff Dog Spa in Bainbridge Island,
Wash., pointed to several Facebook groups that she frequents for groomer
education and equipment recommendations.
“People are always asking about solving problems on these sites, and
when looking at ordering a major purchase like a hydraulic table, I’ll ask about
people’s preferences,” she said.
ROOMER EDUCATION ERGONOMIC NECESSITIES
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