December 24 – TRAVERSE CITY – The Grinch complained about noise, noise, noise. Some may object to the volumes of hair on the floor.
It has all been part of the profession chosen by Susie Penney for almost 45 years.
Never during this period has one of his clients left his business and complained about his hair or nails. At least without using words.
But Penney’s tenure at The Clipper Grooming & Pet Boutique will end at close of business Friday. The business will continue at her location at 441 E. Front St., but Penney hangs up her mowers and hits the road for Florida in an RV on Sunday with her husband Dave and their border terriers, Elvis and Priscilla.
“It’s been a good ride,” Penney said, stopping to give Border Terrier Boo Boo Hall a haircut to answer the phone. “I love what I’m doing. That’s why I’m going to start crying.”
The dogs waiting their turn Thursday at one of the Clipper’s three grooming stations weren’t the only ones crying.
Rhonnie Hodge, who joined The Clipper in 1980, said Penney was the “best boss in the world”.
“We love him,” Hodge said with a lump in his throat. “We all love him.”
The same is probably true for all of his canine clients over the years. Penney, who said “you get used to the noise” and the fur inside the store, couldn’t quantify the number of times she cut coats and nails.
“I have no idea,” she said. ” Billions ? “
Penney began her career responding to a need in the community. She was working with Dr Raymond Wyn at the time at Bay Animal Hospital on North US 31 South, the current Red Lobster site.
“He got so many calls for grooming and there wasn’t a groomer in the area,” Penney said of Wyn, who died in 2002. “So I went to the American School of Dog Groomers in the Detroit area, I came back here and opened this shop. “
Penney opened The Clipper on May 1, 1977 and never changed locations. She always writes the appointments in a spiral calendar and fills in cards with client data.
“We’re old school,” Penney said. “I do my bookkeeping at home on my computer, but everything down here is old school. Too much dog hair. “
Four other women work at The Clipper, but “only three can work at a time,” Penney noted. One of them, Julie Michaels, will take over the ownership of The Clipper.
Penney said she is confident things will be okay after she leaves. That’s because Penney formed Hodge 40 years ago and Hodge did the same when Aimee Werve joined the company.
“I begged her,” Hodge recalls. “I told her that I would be your most loyal groomer if she trained me and that I would be a hard worker. I had young children and had shown dogs. I wanted to do everything with dogs and not just show them. “
“No regrets,” Penney said of Hodge’s hiring, but also of his career.
But now it’s time to leave Traverse City for a little while.
“I’m 69 and my husband has been retired for 12 years,” said the Traverse City Central graduate. “We’re going to hop in our RV and drive down to Florida for three months.”