Corporate downsizings are never easy. Add in a soft economy the past few years, and companies passing over experience and instead going for youth and lower costs, Amy Heitner found herself engulfed in the perfect storm so she decided to take control of her own destiny.
The Suffern High and SUNY Cortland graduate spent more than 15 years with MCI surviving many downsizings before leaving on her own to take a job as a call center director in Mahwah. The company went under just six months later. A series of customer service management positions followed but companies continued to downsize or move out of the area.
“I’ve lived in Bon Aire for 20 years” stated Heitner who has two sons, one of whom has already graduated Suffern High School and her youngest is set to graduate in June, “I love it here and decided that I needed to go in a different direction.”
She looked around for opportunities in a variety of different industries after being laid off yet again in October of 2013.
” I began to go on interviews, and now I was over 50 years old, and it got very depressing fast. After one very disappointing interview I came home extremely frustrated and decided I needed to do something different and began researching dog grooming schools.”
Growing up, Heitner always liked dogs and had a standard poodle. “They would look so pretty after being groomed. Sometimes my mom groomed them; she did ok, but we would laugh anyway. When I got my standard poodle, Dakota, the grooming places weren’t always great and were quite expensive. At one point a number of years ago, I tried to groom Dakota here and there myself, without any training.”
A number of times Heitner considered making the move in order to build a career doing something that she enjoys but things didn’t work out immediately.
When her boyfriend arrived on the scene 5 years ago, she seriously considered going the grooming route especially since the boyfriend and his dog Bear, a King Charles Cavalier- Shih Tsu mix were a package deal. “I did not know where to start. Kevin had encouraged me, but when he passed away suddenly, I had to move fast and go back to work in corporate customer service. I also had no idea how to groom Bear.”
Yet another layoff resulted in her taking the leap.
“I found the NJ Dog Grooming Academy in Boonton, NJ, sent away for information and decided to go for it. Starting my own business is and was an exciting challenge; I’m still learning how to run a business and I enjoy learning something new every day but the desire to work for myself overcomes the fear I have of having to go back to the corporate world.”
Heitner draws upon years of corporate customer service experience to make sure that her clients, and their owners are always satisfied, “I offer personal service and I treat every dog as if he or she was my own. There aren’t ten dogs waiting to be groomed scared in cages in unfamiliar surroundings.”
The one thing that Heitner wasn’t expecting in building her business is the uncertainty as she builds her client base. “You think you’re on a roll and doing well and then business dies down. Then it picks up again. I had no idea what to expect and learning to divide my time between grooming dogs and marketing to build my business is starting to take hold.”
When asked what advice Heitner would give to others considering following their dreams:
“By far the rewards outweigh any apprehension because I follow my rules, my heart and I enjoy the freedom to set my own schedule that comes with the hard work.
Amy is giving away $60.00 in dog grooming services through the Rockland Star! Click here to enter!
To learn more about Amy’s services or to make an appointment call: 845-729-5491