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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Kaden QuinnSpa 4 Paws owner Katie Richey Parnell grooms a new dog during the first week after opening up her business on Oak Street.

After growing up with many different kinds of animals in her life, Katie Richey Parnell eventually made her way into the world of dog grooming with the establishment of her business, "Spa 4 Paws," in California.

With some encouragement from the community, Parnell decided to open her dog grooming business to fulfill a need that locals said would be greatly beneficial to the area.

Parnell said anyone is free to call in and schedule an appointment at her new business, which offers full grooming services. However, for those in a hurry, she said that Spa 4 Paws also provides a self-wash station for owners to come in throughout the day and clean their dogs themselves.

"If they just want to give their own dog a bath, I provide the shampoo, conditioner, towels and everything that's needed," Parnell said. "I have added services as well. For example, if someone wants to come in for deshedding or something like that, I can do that. Basically about anything that you would need as far as a groomer goes, I can do (for the pet and their owner)."

Parnell said she was raised riding horses and always had a number of dogs and cats around throughout her life. She said this led to a natural love of animals, one that would serve her well as she established her business in California.

While dog grooming was a little foreign to her considering her previous line of work, she said she has done the proper work to understand the profession and is ready to provide for the community.

"I've worked in accounting pretty much my whole life, (more specifically) since I was 19 years old," Parnell said. "I was approached by a couple of people about starting a business like this and after thinking about it I just thought, 'Well, why not give it a shot and see?' So I asked around, I went out to the vet and talked to them and they said that there was a real need for it in town. I got a hold of the people that were renting this building (300 South Oak St) out and it just kind of all fell together."

A newcomer to the Oak Street Business District, Parnell told the Democrat that it was the support she received from Chelsea McGill of Grind Coffee and her family that pushed to start her new business. She said after speaking with McGill and several other individuals within the community, she was more than happy to have taken the lap — especially after the success she has gained in her first week.

"I've had several people just walk in the door and set up their appointments already — I'm two weeks booked out," Parnell said earlier this week. "People have also mentioned that they would like for me to start carrying food for the dogs, so that will be in the future of course. I'm going to get going with just the grooming right now but hopefully add on an employee and maybe grab some food and treats and things like that (later down the road)."

With that in mind, Parnell said she is very nervous but also very excited. Spa 4 Paws has gained a lot of attention in its first week of opening and while that can be overwhelming, Parnell said she is very grateful for the support she has received. As she continues to move forward with her business, the owner said she is eager to become a fixture in California as more customers bring their pets in for a cleaning.

"I welcome anybody to come in and take a look around," Parnell said. "I'm open to any advice that they would have or anything that they would like for me to do. I'm here to serve them and pamper their pets. I would love to have everybody just stop in and say 'Hello' as I get to know the community better."

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