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Platinum Paws Turns One

Two dogs celebrating at Platinum Paws

This grooming salon has left its pawprint on the hearts of Columbia.

Tucked off West Broadway, Platinum Paws grooming salon offers traditional services for cats and dogs, from baths and brushes to trims, full grooms, and de-shedding. Though it’s one of many pet salons in the Columbia area, owner Melodi Wisswell believes that her decade-long experience sets Platinum Paws apart from the others. She combines her experience and knowledge to add creative grooming into her work. 

The creative options include coloring, stencils, and “paw-dicures,” making Platinum Paws a one-of-a-kind destination for pet grooming in Columbia. 

From PetSmart to Platinum Paws 

Wisswell earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Columbia College in 2010 and previously worked as a groomer at PetSmart before opening her salon on May 15, 2023. 

“Platinum Paws has been slowly growing since I transitioned from PetSmart,” she says. “I had clients who followed me, and word of mouth has really been spreading.” 

Since opening, the Platinum Paws team, including Wisswell and newly hired groomer Bri Volle, has strived to make the salon environment as welcoming as possible. For example, they handcraft bandanas and bowties in a variety of colors and patterns for the pets to wear home, and they take each pet’s paw print for the store’s wall. They even offer the chance to pick a toy from the toy chest to take home for new clients and on their birthday. 

Platinum Paws provides inclusive services to give pets an exceptional pampering experience. All dogs receive luxury shampoo and conditioner, brushing, nail buffing, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, paw pad care, and sanitary trimming. Cats receive the same services, but since their nails are more delicate than a dog’s, they have their nails clipped rather than buffed. 

“At PetSmart, there were always tons of add-ons,” Wisswell explains, “but I believe that every dog deserves the ultimate spotlight and the best [treatment].” 

To ensure the animals’ comfort and happiness, Platinum Paws tries to keep the number of animals in the salon at a minimum and never kennels unless necessary; that approach has noticeably reduced the anxious behaviors that Wisswell said she often saw while working at PetSmart. Similarly, the team schedules cats on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings — the salon’s less busy days — to provide the cats more privacy from the dogs. 

Celebration at Platinum Paws
Celebration at Platinum Paws

The Key to Success 

One of the most memorable aspects of Wisswell’s journey in developing Platinum Paws has been the exceptional clientele she has cultivated. 

“We truly have the best clients,” she says, smiling. “The support from friends, family, and clients surrounding small businesses has made the transition smooth and [lessened my anxiety.]” She makes it an everyday goal to get to know all her clients on a deeper level and create a relationship with them that’s not merely transactional. 

Similarly, Wisswell enjoys strong relationships with other local businesses and appreciates the exceptional support she has received since opening, such as from Lizzi and Rocco’s Natural Pet Market, with whom she has collaborated on various cross-promotions. The Missouri Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) have also played a significant role in Platinum Paws’ successful first year by assisting with business-specific needs such as setting price points and helping Wisswell establish key connections. Though she has a business degree, Wisswell acknowledges that launching a business can feel overwhelming, and the SBDC alleviated that feeling for her. 

Yellow lab celebrating at Platinum Paws
Yellow lab celebrating at Platinum Paws

One Big Paw-ty 

Platinum Paws recently celebrated its first anniversary on May 11 with an afternoon of festivities. The event featured treats and snacks for both dogs and their owners, a 10 percent discount for all clients who booked a grooming session on the same day, and a raffle for Kansas City Royals tickets for all attendees.

“We [weren’t] just celebrating that we’ve been open for a year,” Wisswell says, “but celebrating our clients and letting them know how much we appreciate them. They become family to us.” 

Reflecting on her first year in business, Wisswell is happy with her current success and doesn’t plan to significantly expand Platinum Paws. Instead, Wisswell is committed to continually developing her current business to reflect her passion for the industry and to maintain a high-quality standard for her clients.

2010: Melodi Wisswell earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Columbia College.

2014-2020: Melodi worked as groomer at PetSmart until 2020. She then groomed animals independently.

2021-2023: After briefly returning to PetSmart in 2021, Melodi began developing a business plan to open her own pet grooming salon.

2022: Melodi received valuable assistance from the Missouri Small Business Development Center. 

May 15, 2023: Platinum Paws opened its doors in Columbia, providing full-service grooming for both dogs and cats.

May 11, 2024: Platinum Paws hosted its first anniversary celebration.

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