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Dog groomer makes a name for himself on Longboat Key and beyond – Your Observer

Four days after Jadyn Norton started Puppy Pals Dog Grooming, he opened up a fortune cookie at dinner. 
“You will be successful in a business of your own,” it read. 
He kept that piece of paper in the back of his phone case as a memento that he still carries with him. 
Now a year into his own business venture, he’s almost at the point of needing to hire more people and another van to help with his mobile dog grooming business. 
“Things have been going really good,” Norton said. “It’s only gotten busier and busier every day.”
Norton, 24, spends about two or three days a week on Longboat Key for appointments. He travels all over Bradenton, Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, too, in the old Amazon van he turned into his mobile dog grooming station equipped with a full tub. 
In the van — which he built himself based on previous carpentry experience — Norton gets to do something he enjoys for a change. 

Norton grew up in Racine, Wisconsin. As he described it, he didn’t see a future there for himself. The job opportunities were bleak, either working in factories or fast food. 
For a little while, Norton said he got caught up with the wrong crowd and was surrounded by a rougher lifestyle. 
“It’s very easy to get caught up in doing the wrong things,” Norton said. “And so I was associated with that stuff for all my life.” 
A couple years ago, Norton decided to make a big change in his life. He packed up and moved to Sarasota with little in his wallet. 
“I took this opportunity to really change my life, and be a bigger, better person than who I used to be,” Norton said.
At first, he moved in with his friend from Wisconsin. He worked mornings at a coffee shop, flipped over the “closed” sign and went straight to his other job serving at a restaurant. 
It wasn’t long before his first living situation fell through, which left him homeless. Norton said he spent a couple of months couch-surfing while applying for apartments. 
He continued working the jobs, managing the coffee shop and serving at night. But after a while, he wanted something different, more of a career. 
That led to his first business venture: carpentry. He entered the venture with a partner, which ended up turning sour. 
The tension between him and his business partner took its toll. Norton said he often found himself complaining about work a lot to his friend, who has his own mobile dog grooming business. 
The friend offered to have Norton shadow him and see what the dog grooming business is like. For about six months, North spent two or three days a week shadowing his friend before he finally decided he was ready to go on his own. 
Norton sold his Mustang and invested the money in a beat-up truck and trailer that became his first “office.” His first client in his own business was a golden retriever. 
About 10 months later, he switched to the van he uses now. 
No matter what he went through to get to where he is, Norton said he always kept his chin up. 
“Struggle is beauty,” Norton said. “It’s only going to make me that much stronger of a person.” 

So far, Norton has found much success in the mobile dog grooming business. His schedule is packed. He wishes he had someone just to respond to all his calls and schedule his appointments. 
His services include baths, haircuts, ear cleanings, nail trimmings and more. Most popular are haircuts, which also come with a bath. For small dogs, that would be around $70, up to about $150-$200 for large dogs. 
Doodles are his most popular dogs. Most of the time, he has an average of one a day, he said. 
About half his week is spent with appointments on Longboat, and he hopes to continue making a name for himself on the island. 
The first Saturday of every month, Norton parks his van at Whitney Beach Plaza for walk-in appointments for washes and nail trimmings. 
Norton spends what free time he does have working on starting his own clothing brand or spending time with his own dog, a corgi named Panda. 
In all, he’s just happy to be where he is now. 
“Even all the stuff I went through when I first moved here, that could break someone,” Norton said. “It didn’t kill my spirit one bit; I was the happiest person. I had so much drive and ambition.”
To reach Jadyn Norton for mobile dog grooming services, call 941-735-2268.
Carter Weinhofer is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, he moved to St. Petersburg to attend Eckerd College until graduating in 2023. During his entire undergraduate career, he worked at the student newspaper, The Current, holding positions from science reporter to editor-in-chief.


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