Business

Happy Tails to You Opens in Waimea

April 17, 2013, 6:15 AM HST
* Updated April 17, 10:29 AM
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A new pet grooming salon in North Hawaii means area residents now have more options when it comes to caring for their pets.

Happy Tails to You opened earlier this month in Waimea at 64-5161 Mana Rd., adjacent to Veterinary Associates Inc.

Owner Charlie Rapoza has spent his whole life around animals, including several years training horses and providing riding lessons.

A general contractor by trade, the Hilo native was looking for a business opportunity when he met pet groomer Cyndi Elkins, who had recently moved to the Big Island, and was looking at getting back into the business.

Around the same time Veterinary Associates was building a new facility.

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He realized he could bring together his love of animals and business skills while fulfilling a community need at the same time.

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“It’s a good opportunity,” said Rapoza, who points out that dog grooming as an industry is growing despite the recession.

“We picked Waimea because there are no dog groomers in Honokaa, Waikoloa, and Waimea. People [in North Hawaii] have to travel to Hilo or Kona to get their pets groomed.”

Rapoza was able to lease space through a contact he had with a veterinarian friend at Veterinary Associates.

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They opened for business earlier this month and a grand opening is currently being planned.

“Response has been really good so far,” said Rapoza.

He said he handles the washing of cats and dogs while Elkins is the primary groomer.

Elkins has more than 25 years experience as a pet groomer and for many years ran her own successful pet grooming business in Wisconsin.

Rapoza said he plans to hire additional groomers as the business grows.

A mobile pet grooming van is also part of his long-term business plan.

“Eventually we’ll be on the road and able to service the whole island,” said Rapoza.

Happy Tails to You is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call (808) 896-5586.

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