Pet groomer seeks grant to expand business, bring dog park to area
FRENCHVILLE, Maine — When Tyra Michaud graduated valedictorian of her class from Wisdom Middle-High School five years ago, she received plenty of advice as to what she should do next.
Some suggested she should aspire to become a doctor or a dentist.
“I knew that wasn’t what was going to make me happy,” Michaud said. “I knew going to school to become a groomer would make me happy, so that is what I did.”
Michaud followed her heart and her dreams and became a certified canine cosmetologist, commonly known as a dog groomer.
Now 23-years-old, Michaud is the owner of Tyra’s Pooch Parlor in Frenchville, a business that is so successful, Michaud often finds herself with a waitlist for clients.
Michaud has an affinity for dogs, having grown up with pet pit bulls and currently has a Jack Russell terrier mix, Alvin, who will be 3-years-old in September. Alvin patiently models for photos advertising the Pooch Parlor.
Tyra’s Pooch Parlor offers the typical grooming needs for dogs as well as cats, such as nail care, bathing, brushing, drying, haircuts and ear cleanings, with the added bonus for pets which Michaud described as “making them look cute.”
The business also sells pet products such as quality foods, toys, leashes, collars and shampoos.
Business is so good at Tyra’s Pooch Parlor that Michaud is seeking a Micro Enterprise Grant from the Community Development Block Grant Program. The town of Frenchville will be applying for the funds on her behalf in the amount of $50,000.
Michaud is looking to expand her current 16-foot by 32-foot space, to add an additional 16-foot by 20-foot section.
“I use every single square inch of my shop for retail space,” she said. “I definitely need some more space on that end of the building. I could use one of the sides for just grooming and the new addition for just retail.”
She also wants to add a fenced-in dog park, a feature not currently available in the St. John Valley, complete with a self-wash station so people can wash and dry their dogs after visiting the park.
Michaud also wants to hire and train two part-time employees to help out at the Pooch Parlor.
Cindy Bouley, administrative assistant for the Office of Planning and Economic Development, wrote the grant on behalf of the business. In January, the towns of Frenchville and Fort Kent signed an interlocal agreement in which Fort Kent would assist Frenchville with economic development grants
“Michaud has reached a point where she can no longer serve all her clients and is having to turn away people,” Bouley said. “By adding the part-time people it will help her to serve her clients.”
Michaud said the grant money, if approved, will not only help her business, but provide a long-term economic incentive to the St. John Valley community at large.
“It’s really important to encourage young kids that they can succeed in having a small business in our area,” Michaud said. “Grants like this help someone like me stay in this area and employ other young people. I think it’s important that we keep that going.”