Lashonda Geffrard says she runs the Orlando area’s first Black-owned pet grooming salon.
Geffrard said she’s always had a big heart for animals. Not being allowed to have pets of her own as a kid, she said she began taking care of friends’ animals — grooming them on the patio of her Pine Hills home.
Geffrard graduated from Evans High School but did not have the opportunity or finances to attend the college she wanted, so she worked her way up in the pet industry by getting jobs at various groomers and animal hospitals.
In 2015, her dream of owning her own business became a reality: The Paw Shop, located on North Clarke Road in Ocoee. Geffrard said she felt the need to stay closer to her community and give back.
“So much change has taken place and normalizing Black pet care professionals is becoming a mission for many,” Geffrard said. “I’m committed to doing my part wholeheartedly with everything I got.”
Geffrard said her passion for pets is what inspired her to not only open her salon but sparked the idea to create a nonprofit pet assistance program.
With rising pet care costs such as vaccinations — which are required for grooming — Geffrard said she began to see more of her low-income and elderly customers turned away.
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SOURCE: ClickOrlando, Victoria Price