By Tim Leeds
Wilma Moore retired from her grooming business, Pet Boutique, on Oct. 1, her 27th anniversary in the business.
She said her business, and retirement, is a testimonial to God. Moore said after she lost her job at Bonanza in 1973, she was devastated.
"I got on my knees and asked God for a job where I could work at home and raise two kids," she said.
Moore said she was contacted by Connie Wilson after that, who was also asking God for help deciding who to turn her pet grooming business over to.
She said Wilson was moving out of town, and wanted someone to train to run her business as she wanted. Moore said Wilson said she was perfect because she didn't know anything about pet grooming, and could be trained the way she wanted.
Moore said she trained with Wilson for nine days, eight hours a day, then started her business on Oct. 1, 1973.
She said she was blessed in the beginning as well. Her landlords, Art and Gladys DeLong, were just finishing putting an addition to their house, which she rented her apartment in. She said they let her use the addition for her grooming business. Moore said DeLongs were really good landlords, like another mom and dad to her.
A few years later she moved her business to its present location, at 1750 Washington Ave.
Moore said when she first started, it took about six hours to groom each dog, and she only did one per day. She said that lasted about three weeks, doing one dog a day, five days a week, at $8 a dog.
She said early in her career a customer asked if she did standard poodles, and she told the customer she did. The customer offered to help, she said, but she told her she could do it herself. Then, she said, she found she couldn't lift the much larger than usual dog, and had to call her friend Maurine Dolan to help. She said Dolan gave her great support through the years, both before starting, at the time she started and throughout her career.
Moore said she has had some customers who helped her a lot in her career, showing her how to start and run a business. She said her customers have been her friends through the years, and she is going to miss them.
"I'm already missing them," she said.
Moore said she has had clients from Chester to Big Sandy to Malta, from as far away as Glasgow and Canada.
Moore said she has had several reminders that her career came to her through God. She said "when the Lord gives you a job, he wants you to do it 'til he changes the avenue." She said three times she forgot to leave God number one, and three times her business dropped until she made him number one again.
Moore said the fourth, and last, time, she decided she wanted to change occupations. She said she decided to go to college if God would provide her with enough money. She said she did have enough money, and enrolled in school, making "the president's list." She said she received a letter from the college president telling her to study or get out.
"The Lord said to me, I gave you my very best; how come you're not doing yours,'" Moore said. "I sat down and cried, and never changed again. Now he told me to quit."
She said she has even been provided for in retirement. The Sands Memorial Foundation has hired her to care for Jake, the late Gordon and Nina Sands' dog, until he dies.