Pet grooming business spreads wings in Southeast

Brenda Davis overcame addiction and incarceration to launch Clip-N-Dales grooming in Southeast Colorado Springs.

When mobile groomer Brenda Davis drives around town, she often catches inquisitive glances from other drivers. It seems to have something to do with the name “Clip-N-Dales” painted in multi-colored letters on the side of a work trailer hitched to the back of her silver SUV.

With the business’ phone number listed on the side of the trailer, Davis said those glances sometimes turn into humorous phone calls.

“I get calls from guys going down the road that say, ‘Hey! Are you a dancer?’” Davis said with a chuckle, “And I’m like, ‘No. But sometimes these dogs will dance on the table!’”

Not too long ago, Davis was living a very different life than that of a fun-loving local business owner.

After years of struggling with an addiction to methamphetamine, she was arrested for financial crimes after stealing money from a bank’s overdraft protection account.

She eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser crime of identity theft and was sentenced to 10 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

“Identity theft sounds so much worse to me because I really wasn’t stealing anybody’s identity, I was transferring money from a bank account that didn’t belong to a person,” Davis said.

“So it wasn’t a hardworking person, but I’m not trying to say it wasn’t wrong. It was terribly wrong, but when you’re in addiction you don’t think about it like that — somehow you justify it. But once you sober up, you feel some kind of way about it.”

Davis, who has worked off and on as a groomer for more than 25 years, served about five years in the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. She eventually transferred to a halfway house and was later released into probation.

“I decided from prison that I wasn’t going to go back to a place where only the wrong kind of people knew me,” Davis said. “Not that the people I knew aren’t good people, they’re just the wrong people. They’re still in their addictions and in some cases are stuck exactly where they were 10 years ago. 

“And I knew if I got out and only surrounded myself with that, I was going to fail. So I made sure I had a good strong backbone before I even thought of coming back to home.”

It was Davis’ probation officer who suggested she might try her hand at running her own business, and referred her to classes at the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center. That taught her the fundamentals of business ownership, from developing a business plan to navigating budgets and payroll.
Late last year, she purchased the used trailer that now serves as the home of Clip-N-Dales, and has been fixing it up piece-by-piece, converting it into a full-fledge mobile grooming shop.

She began taking appointments in January but after just a few months, had to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Colorado transitioning to a safer-at-home order, Clip-N-Dales is officially back in business.

When Davis — who attended Carmel Middle School and Harrison High School — isn’t on the road for mobile appointments, her trailer is typically found in the parking lot of the Mission Trace Shopping Center in Southeast. 

Her business offers grooming services for everything from dogs and cats to ferrets, birds and even potbellied pigs. 

Davis said her ultimate goal for the business as it relates to Mission Trace is to eventually have two groomers operate the Clip-N-Dales trailer at the shopping center, offer doggy-daycare for Mission Trace businesses, and have space for a veterinarian to come in once a month and perform vaccinations and other essential procedures.

She also wants to set up a program for the disadvantaged to receive low-cost vaccinations and grooming services to ensure that their pets are well taken care of. 

And though she’s sometimes strayed from grooming over her two-decades-plus in the profession, Davis said has always found her way back to the profession, and likely always will.

“A happy career isn’t something you choose, it just kind of happens to you,” Davis said.

“And I just can’t stop doing it. It’s what I was meant to do.”

Reporter

Zach Hillstrom is a Colorado Springs native and graduate of Colorado State University-Pueblo. He has worked as a reporter for Southern Colorado print outlets since 2015.