BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN Caring for animals has long been a part of Toni Brose’s life.
“I was raised on a farm, and I’ve always enjoyed working with animals,” Brose said.
She now owns and operates Bubbles and Bows Professional Pet Services in a new facility at 8875 Hwy. 12 with her daughter, Caity, and son, Jack.
Her foray into the pet care business came after a career in the corporate world.
“I worked for Prudential insurance, actually. They had a big company layoff, and they had a displaced workers program, and so I decided to go to pet grooming school at the Cutting Edge Pet Grooming School in Minneapolis,” Brose said. “That’s how I got into this actually.”
After graduating in 1995, she started grooming pets in the basement of her Howard Lake home.
She returned to her hometown of Grand Rapids in 2001, and took her business with her, moving it into a 7,700-square-foot facility that houses pet grooming, boarding, daycare, and training. Her daughter, Jordan Leonhard, and son-in-law, Sean Leonhard, help operate that facility.
In the summer of 2017, she and Jack began looking for land to build a new kennel. When she was given the chance to lease the local facility, she took it.
“We locked it in immediately when he asked me if I was interested,” Brose said.
It was also a no-brainer to have Jack and Caity involved in the local operations.
“Caity and Jack have ownership here,” Brose said. “It gives them incentive to work hard. Jack’s been around this business since he was fresh out of the hospital. I was back grooming five days after he was born, so he’s very familiar with all of this.”
Brose enjoys having three of her four children working alongside her.
“It means retirement for me,” she said with a smile. “It makes me very proud that they’ve taken an interest in what I’ve done.”
Caity and another local employee will begin grooming school at the end of March, while one of the employees at the Grand Rapids location is planning to work at the local location after graduating from grooming school in June.
“We’d like to see a couple more groomers here,” Brose said.
Locally, Bubbles and Bows currently operates with seven employees, which could grow.
“As we get more established, I’m sure we’ll be hiring more,” Brose said. “To me, this is like a newborn baby in the beginning stages of growing. It’s new for us, and new for the community.”
So far, Brose believes the business has been well-received.
“It’s going very well,” she said. “We’re very busy.”
In addition to new customers, some of her customers from the Howard Lake area have brought her business.
“I have clients from all those years ago coming here,” Brose said. “That has really made me feel good.”
Brose also feels good about several features in the new facility.
Those features include comforting colors in the kennel area, a “homey atmosphere,” and Mason kennels that have a patented seal to keep the environment sanitary.
New features will also be added to the facility in the near future, including a larger outdoor space, individual outdoor runs for each dog, and the ability for staff to let dogs into those runs without entering the individual kennels.
New services could be available in the future, as well.
“In the future, we’d like to offer basic obedience classes,” Brose said.
The facility is open 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, call (763) 972-3647 or visit www.bubblesandbowsdelano.com.