'Don't worry, we're not closing' Buckingham dog groomer tells loyal customers

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Woofs and Washes is having to shut its existing salon but the business will continue to operate from new premises

A Buckingham dog groomer has reassured customers that her business is not closing – just moving.

One month ago, on February 2, Natalie Ayris announced she was having to close her Woofs and Washes dog grooming salon in Cornwall Place.

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Natalie, aged 28, told the Bucks Herald that a proposed rent rise made the premises unaffordable, while a two-week trip to visit her sister in Australia at Christmas had inspired her to emigrate.

Natalie with her dog, BilboNatalie with her dog, Bilbo
Natalie with her dog, Bilbo

It was an extremely tough decision to make for Natalie, whose business has acquired a loyal following since it opened in September 2017, and has even been nominated for the Animal Stars Awards 2023.

Natalie began asking around for another salon that would rent a table to herself and her two groomers, Sophie Beacon and Nicola Evans, until she moves abroad next January.

And on February 10, she was delighted to tell her loyal customers that Woofs and Washes will be trading from The Mutt Hut in Tingewick from May.

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Natalie said: "I messaged a few groomers and then the following day had The Mutt Hut respond to me to say that she’d be interested in me running a table. And then later that week she told me there was space for two tables so now all three of us can go, and alternate on Saturdays.

The Woofs and Washes team outside the shopThe Woofs and Washes team outside the shop
The Woofs and Washes team outside the shop

“It is absolutely lovely that she’s done that, it’s really helped us out. It means we’ve all got that sort of stepping stone and the girls can decide what to do, and then when I leave for Australia in January, the girls will keep the company running so that they can continue the legacy of it.

“We do have a loyal following. So many of our customers commented on the original post when I said we were closing, and they’ve all said that they want to stick with us and they want to follow us.

"And for now I’ve got the rest of this year to sort of ease the transition for them, get them so that they feel comfortable with either Sophie or Nicola, so that they can continue to stay with Woofs and Washes and know that their dogs are going to be treated the same, and know that we follow the same ethics.”

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Natalie, who herself owns a cocker spaniel called Bilbo, added: “I’ve always been very passionate about doing what’s best for the dogs. A lot of groomers – not necessarily in this area – will do whatever the owner wants.

Natalie and BilboNatalie and Bilbo
Natalie and Bilbo

"But for example, spaniels are not supposed to be clipped, so unless they’ve already been clipped elsewhere I won’t go down that route, because it actually changes how it grows back and it doesn’t help them insulate.

"So I’ve always stuck by that and I’ve had a lot of people come to me because they know that I won’t shave off their spaniel and do things like that. And I’ve drilled that into the girls and we have that passionate following that I hope they’ll continue with as well.”

The salon in Cornwall Place will close on April 15, but Woofs and Washes will continue trading from The Mutt Hut from May 2.

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