Harbor Pets Grooming Keeps 'Em 'Cute Clean and Comfortable'
Mary Neville, owner of the downtown Safety Harbor shop, treats your pet like a member of the family.
Pet groomers can be as different as the animals they service. Some are friendly and loving, while others are fickle and standoffish.
At Harbor Pets Grooming, owner Mary Neville definitely falls into the former category; in fact, she loves each animal as if it were her own.
Actually, sometimes the animals she cares for become her own.
“Stella is a three-and-a-half-year-old Labradoodle,” she says of her jet-black companion. “I kept her after I took care of her and three other dogs that were rescued from a Sarasota puppy mill earlier this year.
“When I got her she couldn’t even walk on a leash. Now she’s the princess of the shop.”
It’s that kind of compassion that has made Neville’s downtown business so successful, despite the fact that she has done little advertising and has only been in business for a little more than a year.
However, with more than a dozen years experience in the grooming business, Neville is certainly qualified to care for all types of pet personalities.
In fact, the line on her business card says "Big or small, we LOVE them all!"
After working for a master groomer in North Carolina, she went to grooming school in Arizona before working as an independent contractor there until May of 2011.
A vacation to Pinellas County around Christmas of 2010 led her to Safety Harbor, and she knew instantly this was the place she wanted to be.
“I started at the (Safety Harbor Resort and) Spa, walked up Main Street, and by the time we got to Fourth Street, we said we want to live her,” she recalls of her and her husband, Kelly’s, trip.
When she returned to Arizona, the place she was working went out of business, so she decided to make the move to Safety Harbor and open her own shop.
“Talk about a dog-loving town. It was serendipity,” she admits.
Neville says she has worked on more than 300 dogs from the community since she opened, roughly 200 of which return on a regular basis.
She says the dogs from around town are “the sweetest," and she treats each one of them as she would her own.
“I think part of the reason for my success is that I try to keep it very home-like here,” she admits. “I encourage the pets to play, make friends. I don’t do anything that’s uncomfortable.”
“I like to keep ‘em cute, clean and comfortable. If I can’t look ‘em in the eye and give ‘em a kiss, then I’m doing something wrong.”
Address: 127 4th Ave N.
Hours: Mon - Sat, 8am - 5pm; Special hour appointments available