VSU Grad Combines Diploma and Love of Animals to Open North Side Pet Bath and Spa | Richmond Free Press

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Michelle Millett and her mother, Arlene Young, make it easier for pet parents to bathe their fur babies.

The duo own Diamonds and Dutch Pet Bath & Spa, located at 121 W. Brookland Park Blvd., where people have the option to have their pets washed and groomed or pet owners can do it themselves. in one of the store’s eight large tubs.

The black-owned business, located in the revitalized North Side business district, opened in February 2019 and is named after the dogs of Ms Millett – Diamonds, a pit bull boxer mix, and Duchess, the German Shepherd – Labrador mix with whom she grew up and died in 2009.

Ms. Millett, 30, and her mother have both been animal lovers for many years. Ms. Millett received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture with a concentration in animal science from Virginia State University in 2014.

“After graduation, mom told me I wasn’t using my degree,” Ms. Millett said in a recent interview. “She found the money and said, ‘Let’s open a spa so you can use your degree that we’ve spent so much money on.’ “

They wanted to open a store that would make pet grooming easier for owners outside of their homes while taking the hassle out of cleaning up.

Ms Young, who retired from the Virginia Department of Taxation, used the web to research the best up-and-coming residential and commercial areas and chose Brookland Park Boulevard because of the revitalized area where people could walk their pets to the spa.

Ms Millett, a resident of Henririco, was not so excited about the location until she met the owner and inspected the area. She said the building was just the right space for a creative, upscale yet warm atmosphere to keep animal lovers comfortable while meeting the needs of all types of dogs – large, medium, small and disabled. .

“Our self-service tubs are like bathtubs in homes,” Ms. Millett said of her strategy for making the experience warm and intimate. “It makes the bathing process feel more familiar to the animals as well as to the customers. Most pets are used to actual bathtubs in the home.

Specially selected music and soothing aromas float around the store.

Diamonds and Dutch also offers professional dog and cat grooming and grooming services, including teeth cleaning and hair and nail trimming. The service is by appointment without waiting, said Ms. Millett.

Groomer Willow Martinez-Edwards gives spa regular Duke a relaxing bath.

For those who prefer to do all the grooming themselves, the company provides the necessary equipment and supplies.

“Our customers have had a very positive feedback on the way we do what we do,” said Ms. Millett. “Customers and pets fall in love with the Diamonds and Dutch aura and the close-knit family team. “

There is a lot of tail wagging by pets that sometimes jump on their owners showing their excitement after being groomed, she said.

The pandemic struck just after the company reached its first anniversary. Diamonds and Dutch had to close from April to July 2020 during the COVID-19 shutdown. But business has grown steadily since then, Ms Millett said.

Diamonds and Dutch, she said, is just the start of her dream of franchising the unique brand and the grooming approach.

“Dogs don’t see color – black or white, brown or red,” Ms. Millett said. “They see genuine love. They see who will really take care of me and treat me well.

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