When Preble County 4-H’er Emma Bergbigler began showing dogs three years ago, she never expected to discover a future career. “I’ve always liked dogs,” she said, “but I didn’t know how much I enjoyed grooming them until I began showing my dog Chi, in my 4-H club.” Now, at just 14 years old, Bergbigler has started her own dog grooming and walking business and has big plans for its growth in the years to come.
Named Leroy’s Place after her dog who passed away in November 2020, Bergbigler’s business has been a labor of love. “Leroy was my best friend, and this felt like a way to honor him,” she said.
Getting her business off the ground was not easy, but with the help of family, friends, and staff at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center’s Animal Care and Management Program, Bergbigler opened the doors on June 1. Since then, she has washed the hair and trimmed the nails of dozens of dogs, but none have been more special than her first customer. “Aaron was the first dog I groomed professionally, and it was such a wonderful experience. I groomed him for fun before starting my business, but having him as my first official customer meant so much more.”
And while she currently runs Leroy’s Place out of her family’s garage, she has no plans of stopping there. “Right now, I offer bathing; walking; and nail, ears, and teeth cleaning services, and am working to get trained in cutting hair,” said Bergbigler. “As my business grows, I plan to move into a larger building and hire more employees. I would also love to incorporate dog day care services and a pet shop!”
This summer, she had the opportunity to show off her hard work at both the Preble County Fair and Ohio State Fair. “I knew I was starting my business this year, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a 4-H project about the work that went in to making it happen,” she said. “Competing at the Ohio State Fair was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to doing another project on how I’m marketing Leroy’s Place next year.”
Check out the services Bergbigler offers, or schedule an appointment for your dog at the Leroy’s Place Facebook page!