Kim Steen hung up her clippers after 224 dog years at D & J Dog Grooming. Those clippers were taken up by new owner and former employee Jessica Jackson.
Steen, with her radiant smile, recalls working at Jim’s Poodle Parlor, a shop owned by her father, Jim, in Santa Barbara, Calif. She started working while in junior high school and has never looked back.
She remembers when the business was in California, many of the breeds it serviced were poodles and cocker spaniels.
“It’s interesting to see how the popular dog breeds changed through the years,” Steen said.
Paris Hilton popularized tiny dogs that could fit into a tote.
“Now doodles are the thing,” she said. “Lots of big dogs.”
The dog grooming business began when Jim Steen realized the back room at his pet store he rented to a groomer had a lot of traffic. He directed his wife, Doris, Kim’s mother, to learn how to groom dogs.
Her mother began to teach grooming to her daughter, though Kim’s focus was on bathing dogs rather than grooming. By high school the younger Steen was learning the tricks of grooming.
When her parents decided to leave California in the late 1970s, they looked for a place to settle that had a lack of dog groomers. They chose Keizer and opened the shop on River Road in the center of town.
The business thrived for 15 years before Kim bought it from her parents in 1992.
During her ownership many family members worked at the business including both her sons and her siblings.
After 30 years she decided it was time to retire.
The job is “taxing on your body,” she said. “It’s a physical job.”
There are elements of the business Steen will miss as she faces a world of choices in retirement. Steen hopes to get back to hiking and bike riding. She will miss meeting new clients (both two legged and four legged) and the relationships with the dogs. “I’ve always sort of taken for granted my interaction with dogs, because it’s my whole life,” she explained.
Kim Steen has left the family business in good hands when she sold it to long-time employee Jessica Jackson, a Keizer resident.
It is a real family business. J a c k s o n ’ s mo t h e r – i n – law worked at the salon for 10 years. Now Jackson’s children help out from time to time.
J a c k s o n started at D & J in 2008, bathing dogs. Over the past 16 years, Jackson has learned how to groom dogs from Steen.
“These last few months is when I started getting really excited about it (buying the business from Steen),” said Jackson.
The new owner said the most unusual cuts people ask for are mohawks and sweater cuts.
Jackson wants customers, old and new, to know that the business is here to help with their pets, including nail care.
“We’re always here to help,” she said.
D & J Dog Grooming is located at 689 Chemawa Rd. NE. They can be reached at 503-393- 7701. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Contact Publisher Lyndon Zaitz:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051
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