Simple Groom is a subsidiary of JOG A DOG, LLC. Each year, since 2003, JOG A DOG has provided treadmills for area hotel guests (dogs) to use during the Westminster dog show in New York City. Hotel guests typically arrive the week prior to the show and require a means to exercise their dogs while staying at the Westminster host hotels. Hotel guests in town for the Westminster dog show also need space to groom and “potty” their dogs. The three host hotels surrounding Madison Square Garden work diligently to accommodate these needs for their guests.
In 2013, JOG A DOG, LLC was asked by the Hotel Pennsylvania to assist with its annual operation of amenities provided for Westminster guests. The hotel was outsourcing this operation at a cost that was no longer economically justifiable to continue. We assisted the hotel and encouraged them to purchase only the best “top quality” equipment in the industry for guest use in their hotel. They followed our advice and the equipment and services provided were very well received. The Hotel now provides these amenities (bathing, grooming, potty and JOG A DOG treadmill use) for a profit.
We Need Tables
In 2015, the company that provided grooming tables for the hotel no longer wished to participate. They also informed us they were no longer making folding portable tables. In a pinch, we decided to make fifteen grooming tables three weeks prior to the show. Having just completed a renovation of our shop floors, we contacted the company that epoxied our floors. The chemist for the company helped us develop a poly urethane product to apply to each table top.
Our first table top (see picture above) incorporated the use of quality 13 ply Baltic Birch plywood. They advertise you can boil the wood in water and it will not delaminate. Therefore, we coated only the top and utilized a plastic protective band around the edge. We learned quickly that merely screwing the legs into the table did not work. We had guys in the shop sit on the tables and they quickly worked loose and lacked stability. Therefore, we decided to use the best plywood in the industry and bolt the leg through the table so the bolts are secured and will not work loose. Additionally, layered plywood will never break apart like particle board and MDF.
Now we had the challenge of bolting the legs through the top of the table and filling the holes with a compatible material that would allow the coating to adhere to it without any issues. The additional steps of filling and sanding were very time consuming and costly but necessary in preventing the screws from working loose. To make this process economical we purchased an industrial sander to automate this process. This key manufacturing process and attention to quality separates us from our competitors. Ask any professional dog show handler and they will acknowledge that screws will eventually work loose.
The Test Market
With our first tables in hand, we introduced them to the Westminster dog show handlers in February, 2014. We were surprised how well they were received. After the show we sold them all quickly with a long waiting list of eager buyers in case a sale fell through. In the process of making fifteen tables in three sizes we had overrun material on hand. Therefore we decided to finish the remaining tables and sell them at a small outdoor show in Monroe, Michigan. We determined if they sold well at this small show then we would consider manufacturing them. Again, the tables were very well received and we sold all of them quickly.
Believing initially that we only needed to cover the top of the table was big oversight on our part. We had a finished table in our shop that somehow became wet underneath. Made of the best furniture grade plywood in the industry we quickly learned that it was not infallible to water. The product had swelled and delaminated. From this point forward we knew we had no option but coat the entire table. We discarded the plastic edging and used a router setup to incorporate the perfect edge. Now we had a sturdy table with secured legs and a top completely encased in a water proof protective coating. Our next hurdle was to revisit the protective coating. Our initial formula was taking too long to cure and at times releasing from the wood top. Several component changes later and we had an incredibly awesome product that exceeded our expectations. To add further strength and adhesion, we now bake our tops at high temperature for forty-eight hours.
Listening to customers, we needed to offer a variety of vibrant colors. Vibrant colors also meant incorporating UV protection to prevent fading. One distributer of a competing brand mentioned his tables were fading in the sun. He had left documentation on the tables during an outdoor show and he could see where fading had occurred around the documents. This was no easy task since we do not paint our tables. Additionally we cannot incorporate paint into our product. Coloring is achieved by mixing together earth tone pigments (not paint) into our product. For this we had to enlist the services of a professional artist to mix pigments for us. In the process we developed dozens of colors and test marketed them. We now only sell the most popular and vibrant colors. All our tables have UV protection to protect the colors from fading.
We struggled for years to create a texture that our customers would soon rave over. The challenge was to create a texture that provided grip yet was very easy to clean. We looked at our competitors using high pressure truck bedliner products. We noticed their tables had micro air pockets. We also noticed these tiny pockets quickly filled with white chalk/powders and were difficult to clean. We walked the floors of dog shows and most every table top was dirty. The trick was to create a smooth surface with a raised texture that was also smooth. This was no small achievement. We went through hundreds if not a thousand tables before we were able to achieve the perfect texture. We believe we now have the best texture on the market that provides excellent grip, is eye catching and simple to clean.
Today our tables are highly sought after by grooming professionals world-wide. With your input we will continue to create, innovate and manufacture incredibly awesome and simple products for groomers. We have numerous new products in development and we cannot wait to share them with you.
Thank you to all our loyal customers for helping Simple Groom grow and for recommend our products to others!