BRANDON, S.D. — In 2006, the Dressen family moved to Brandon to fill a niche in the pet grooming business. Since then, their products have been shipped worldwide, appeared on television shows and have gotten attention from the White House.
Tim Dressen started Groomer's Best in his Dell Rapids garage in 2002, building tables, sinks, tubs and cages for dog groomers. He said he got the idea from his brother, Dan Dressen, who owns a business in Sioux Falls that sells pet products on the health and grooming side.
The business, Groomer's Choice, also sells Groomer's Best tubs and cages.
Besides selling through his brother's business, Tim Dressen said he sells his products through distributors in the United States and Canada, and one distributor in Saudi Arabia.
"We pretty much ship to every country, some I haven't even heard of," he told the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/Y7abOC).
But some of his customers are well-known. Last summer, the White House arranged for a dog bathtub. Dressen's daughter and office manager, Katie Rodne, said that after the call came in, "I went out and told everybody."
Katie's husband, Matt Rodne, also works for Groomer's Best. He said having one of the company's products in Washington, D.C., is an honor that will fill the family with pride for years.
"It's not going to be there for just one presidency," Matt Rodne said.
Last fall, the TLC Network TV show "Little People, Big World" bought equipment that Dressen said will be shown on the series.
And Groomer's Best products were seen on a past season of HGTV's Dream Home Giveaway.
Dressen credits much of his success to his affordable product line.
"The groomers don't have the money to buy the Cadillac stuff (of grooming equipment), so we build the middle range stuff," he said. It is all stainless steel, made to order and typically shipped the next day.
Dave Swier of Brandon said Dressen's business fits well in Brandon.
"When I first met the guy, I was like, this should be a business that should be in Brandon. He was aggressive, and he had a good niche . one of those niches where not a lot of people do what he does," Swier said.
At the time, Dressen was looking for a new location.
"Dell Rapids didn't really have an industrial park for me to grow," he said. Swier rented him half of a 7,000-square-foot building with an option to buy.
A U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan in 2007 allowed Dressen to purchase the building he was in, as well as an adjoining lot. Last summer, he built onto the building, giving Groomer's Best 15,000 square feet of space.
That gives the business room to expand into the veterinary industry, offering existing products as well as examination tables and other equipment. At least, that is the plan.
"In the grooming side, we've grown so fast I've had a hard time getting started in the vet side," Dressen said.
Once the vet side takes off, Dressen hopes to add cabinetry to his catalog. "But if we do that, it would be in a separate building," he said.
Groomer's Best has 10 employees, including Dressen's daughter, son-in-law, and partner, Darla Johnson. Dressen said he hopes to grow to about 30 employees.
"Our growth has been pretty good," Dressen said.
"We're adding employees all the time."
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com