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Mobile pet groomer adds storefront

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 7:36 p.m.

Despite working as a local pet groomer for the past year, Ligonier's Sandy Klochak felt like something was missing in her life.

For nearly 23 years, Klochak and her family ran a shelter for special-needs animals and raised money to provide medical care for pets of low-income families in New Jersey.

Klochak is hoping to bring that same kind of financial aid to Ligonier pet owners with a new storefront opening this week.

Klochak opened the Sandy Paws pet boutique at 108 N. Fairfield St. to complement her already successful mobile pet grooming business.

In addition, at least 15 crafters, bakers and artisans will sell their wares (for people and pets) on the second story of the building.

Ten percent of those profits, plus the cost of renting space from Klochak, will go to the Animal Relief Fund, Klochak said. Families will be able to apply for money from the fund to go toward medical expenses for their pets.

“I just feel in my heart that opening this store is the right thing to do,” Klochak said. “I'm finagling my last dollar to do this, but it's going to work. It has to work. It's for the right reason.”

Klochak said she plans to add a stationary pet grooming salon and self-serve dog wash to the business, which is considered a conditional use in the borough's commercial district.

She received a favorable recommendation from the Ligonier Planning Commission on Oct. 22.

“It sounds like you have a great idea,” President Joe Willard told Klochak.

She will appear before Ligonier Borough Council Nov. 8 to be considered for final approval.

Klochak said her mobile business has blossomed in Ligonier, with new clients having to wait two to three weeks for an appointment opening. She said she's hoping the grooming option at the shop will help alleviate some of the wait for her clients.

“I can only wash so many dogs in one day,” she said, laughing. “But some people don't care if they have to bring their dog down to a shop to get groomed.”

Klochak said she grooms pets from “the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail.”

The self-serve dog wash will be for clients who want to pay a nominal fee to wash their dog themselves.

The shop will offer shampoo, towels and blow dryers, in addition to the groomer's tub, for $12 to $20.

While waiting for approval for the service side of the business, Klochak opened for the retail sale of pet items and artisan wares upstairs this week.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

Jewels Phraner is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or