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New Business for Furry Friends Opens in Downtown Covington

The Covington canine community has a new place to get clean as Dogs-N-Style opens its doors at 806 Madison Avenue for the first time on Tuesday.

Owner Walter Parks loves pets and has cared for other people’s dogs and cats for over seven years. Dogs-N-Style is both a groomer and daycare for dog owners nearby.

Parks started with PetSmart in November, 2008. From there, he became an academy-trained pet stylist in 2009. Since then, he gained enough knowledge to be able to open up his own business. Parks is a Covington resident which makes coming to work easier every day, but he did scout out different locations before settling on Madison Avenue.

“I looked at the Madison strip, the Scott Boulevard strip, also York Street in Newport, but in Covington, I don’t think there is a lot of grooming businesses in Covington,” he said.

Parks is originally a Lexington native and moved here with the idea of running his own McDonald’s in Newport, but then the PetSmart opportunity opened up where he sought out management positions, but that opportunity never became available. Then, Parks got something of a break, and not necessarily a lucky one, but one that turned out to be for the best.

“In June I broke my left hand, and those seven weeks that I was out gave me the time to start my own business plan and start get the funding together to get to do that,” said Parks.

Despite the name, Dogs-N-Style is available to cats, too. There are already appointments set by pet owners to break in the new business. 

“I just had my last inspection yesterday, so today is technically my first day of business," Parks said on Tuesday afternoon, "and I already have two appointments on the book, and am expecting some walk-in appointments as well. People can walk in for nail trims, teeth brushing, ear cleaning, and things like that.”

The minimum for a small dog bath starts at $18 and goes up from there. The highest price is $110 for a pulley breed, the dogs with the long ropy dreadlocks.

Parks listed biting dogs as one of the unique challenges to owning and maintaining a pet grooming business, but said that most dogs enjoy being groomed. Parks has been bitten twice and says it’s just part of the industry. He owns a Rottweiler and a Maltese/Poodle mix at home.

He laughed about the quirky looks and styles that pet owners sometimes want for their dogs and cats.

“People get lion cuts, they have you shave names in dogs, crazy things with tails,” he said. “Here recently, everyone has gotten into the chalking. It’s a powder that is kind of like a makeup powder that allows you to change the color of the dog. There are people who make their dogs look like pandas and all kinds of things.”

While coloring your pet sounds like fun, especially around Halloween, there are some details owners should be aware of before adding pigment to their pooch.

“I think that if you use the spray version of the dye, you really have to make sure that the dog is dry. Most of it is just chalk anyway, so if they immediately get into the car, it’s going to rub off onto the fabrics, onto them. I don’t think it’s really harmful to the dog, I think it’s more of how it gets everywhere,” he said.

Dogs-N-Style also offer nail trimming services not only to keep the pets’ feet in good shape, but also to protect things in the household that could be effected by the sharpness of their claws.

“We apply caps to cats nails to keep them from scratching furniture. We also do nail grinding for dogs whose owners have hardwood floors or leather furniture, getting in and out of the car and things like that.”

For now, Parks’ main priority is having his business survive its early going, and he already has an eye for the future.

“The current goal I would say is to have the business maintain itself. Future things that I would be looking for is to open up other business. I think the next location I would really want to look at, just from driving by and looking, there really isn’t a lot in Ludlow.”

Dogs-N-Style will be the subject of the next ribbon-cutting that the City of Covington does each week in order to feature a new business in the city.

At the new store, Parks credits a unique piece of equipment that he purchased for the business that he believes separates him from his competition. 

“One thing that I think is unique about us compared to other places is that we use HydroSurge which is a company that specializes in pretty much just bathing dogs. They have a product called the BathPro 5.1 and what that does is, it rolls oxygen and the soap and the water all together to make kind of a massage for the dog while they are bathed,” he said.

In addition to the grooming services, Dogs-N-Style also serves as a doggy daycare. While not the expansive areas that other similar businesses offer, Parks has cleared an area of the business that will serve as a place for the pets to play and socialize in.

“People want to go to work and they want to drop their dog off to play and hang out with other dogs, they do that within this area. It’s not a huge area compared to other facilities, we could have up to 10-15 dogs here a day on a first-come-first-serve basis.”

Parks believes that with the experience he and his staff bring to the table, combined with the specialized equipment and the work space, Dogs-N-Style will become a resource for the city and its pet owners.

“With the staff that we have—three groomers, two bathers, and two part-time receptionists—with all of us total, we’ve got well over 26 years of experience in the industry. I think that is another good thing that helps us as far as things that we would need to know. It’s not just where we have people that have no background in it and if something were to happen, we wouldn’t know how to react or know what to do. Everybody that works here really loves animals and have been in the industry and have invested a lot as far as their personal equipment and some of them have even helped work to try and get this place open.“

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

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