Mobile pet salon sells convenience to animal owners
Lincoln lovingly pounced on Annie Marcinko as she greeted him on his porch.
The 4-year-old greater Swiss mountain dog was ready to be pampered with a nail trim, bath, teeth brushing and ear cleaning, all from the comfort of his own driveway in Green Ridge.
Lincoln, a Westminster Kennel Club show dog, is just one of many canine and feline clients groomed near home at Marcinko’s business, Zoom & Groom, a mobile pet salon serving Northeast Pennsylvania.
The business, which began in December, conveniently parks outside pet owners’ homes to clip their dog’s or cat’s nails, wash them down or brush their teeth, among other services.
“I do it right in front of their house and when I’m done I bring them right in so they’re not waiting,” Marcinko said. “Everyone has been telling me that this is the most convenient thing ever,” especially for families with younger children.
No more drop-offs
Marcinko’s client Crystal Satriano echoed the sentiment.
Dropping her almost 2-year-old 26-pound cockapoo off at the groomer and waiting for a call that he’s groomed “totally messes your day up,” she said. “He hates going and I hate leaving him in a little crate in a place he doesn’t know.”
In Zoom & Groom, Milo’s ears were cleaned, teeth brushed and he was given a bath from the comfort of outside his Thornhurst Township home.
What stayed with Satriano is that Milo still liked Marcinko after the experience. He trotted out of the Zoom & Groom van like a king.
“I knew that she would be gentle and loving toward him just as I would,” Satriano said. “Not only is she talented and does a great job but she’s also a really great person.”
‘Found my calling’
Marcinko, 25, holds her veterinary assistant degree. She loves working with the animals but did not enjoy the “sad” side of the vet. So, after a suggestion from her father, Marcinko attended a two-month grooming program at Cindy’s Canine Companions Salon & School in Rehrersburg, and Zoom & Groom was born.
“I found my calling,” she said.
She discovered the Wag’n Tails, a mobile grooming conversions company, at a grooming show, purchased the truck in late 2016 and on Dec. 2, Marcinko, a Moscow resident, pulled up to her first customer’s house.
Inside the van on a cold, late January day, the 2010 Holy Cross graduate guided the gentle 100-pound Lincoln onto a low table. She stepped on a pedal to lift the table and clip and file Lincoln’s nails. Once the manicure was finished, with encouragement, Lincoln hopped from the table into a shallow stainless steel bathtub in the back of the truck.
Lincoln lifted his half-white paws up to avoid soaking them; he doesn’t like wet feet.
Owned by Kristen Langan of Scranton, the big dog didn’t bark once and barely fidgeted as Marcinko scrubbed his fur in circles with almond soap. She sprayed the shampoo off, releasing a shower of fur, and blow dried Lincoln down. In between sprays of water, the dog shook his whole body, assisting in the drying process.
Marcinko, who graduated with a biology degree from West Chester University in 2014, makes the most of her van’s limited space with hidden cabinets revealing towels, soaps and sprays. Outside the truck, a door opens in the back to store water for the baths.
The white truck with purple detailing inside is embellished with a logo designed by her aunt; cartoon portraits of Marcinko’s cat, a black and white “tuxedo cat,” and her dog, a Labradoodle, are surrounded by bubbles in a bath.
Marcinko, who also works part time at J. Crew Mercantile at the Shoppes at Montage, is one of a few groomers in Northeast Pennsylvania who groom cats and does house calls for nail clippings.
It’s important to groom animals to help prevent dry skin, she said, adding, “some just really stinky or the longer haired, like a cat, get really matted,” It’s also important for older dogs to have their nails clipped to prevent joint pain.
Costs vary by breed and size.