Square Takeover

Our friends at Square let us take over their Instagram account.  Click Here to read more and see some of the images that we posted.  We pasted a copy of their blog post below.

The idea for Keith and Patrycia’s business was born out of annoyance with a frequent chore. Every time they had to bathe and brush their Bernese Mountain Dog, Roxy, they were left with mess and fur all over their house.

So they opened Bubbly Paws, a place where frustrated dog owners like them could wash their dogs without having to worry about the mess. Since opening in 2011, Bubbly Paws — a self-service dog wash and grooming salon — has expanded to three locations in Minneapolis, plus an online shop.

In January, Bubbly Paws took over our Instagram account for the day to show us just what it’s like to run a self-service dog wash and grooming business (spoiler alert: there are a lot of cute dogs).

People seemed to love the sneak peek into their business, so we reached out to Keith to talk a little more about the challenges of running three stores, the habits that have made Bubbly Paws successful, and the best advice they have for other small business owners.

Square: What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?

Keith: You know, a lot of it really depends on what’s going on. I normally walk into one of the stores around 9:30 a.m. And by that time, some of our groomers have already been there for two hours grooming dogs. So sometimes we deal with issues they might be having or with stuff that might have happened the night before.

And then we get the store ready for the day. We see the customer comments and complaints that have come in overnight. One of the things that we use is the feedback on the receipts. My wife and I actually go through each one of them personally and read and respond to it, whether it’s good or bad.

Bubbly Paws Instagram Stories during its takeover

Square: You have three locations, how do you balance that on a day-to-day basis?

Keith: We put ourselves on the schedule and work a front-desk shift at least four days a week, which I think helps keep us grounded. I think each of the locations is so unique and the customers are so different at each place, that it helps when we do our marketing [to be in the store]. Or if there is a complaint, we get to know the [customers], we get to know what’s going on. So we really try to be involved with each [location].

When I think of how many times people have just said something in passing like, “Hey, you know what? I wish you guys had this.” And then we start talking about it, “Why don’t we have that?” One lady was like, “I really wish I could buy the shampoo that you guys use.” So then next week, guess what? We’re selling the shampoo. 

Square: What do you look forward to doing every day?

Keith: Honestly, the fun part is dealing with the dogs. Really getting to know them. You see some dogs that come in for grooming that are just so excited to come in. I’d say that’s probably a third of the dogs.

And then educating new dog owners — here’s the way that you should be brushing the dog, here’s how we can help save you money on grooming down the line, and just helping them whether it’s stuff related to our business or not.

Square: What is your least favorite task to get through every day?

Keith: You know, I think the least favorite [task] would probably be bookkeeping. I don’t think anybody really loves doing that. We use QuickBooks and try to make sure everything is in the right order for our accountant. I try to keep on top of the mess and do it every day so I’m not sitting at the end of the month trying to catch up.

The other thing is dealing with negative feedback that comes in. Nobody wants to hear anything bad about your business — we’re in customer service. I would say 99% of the people are always happy, but you’re always going to have that [small percentage of people] where something went wrong or we screwed up. And you don’t want to any [of it] to be negative, but seeing it makes you stronger … how you handle that mistake is what matters.

Square: What still surprises you about running your own business?

Keith: You know, I think the fact that you’re expected to know everything when you don’t always know everything. You’re supposed to have every answer to every situation at any time, and just be an expert on that. And I think that it’s the hardest thing to get ready for.

Square: What daily habits have made your business successful?

Keith: It’s not even really related to the dog wash. I do CrossFit every morning at 6:30. I think … it’s helped me de-stress from the business. It’s time just to get away and not think about [the business], which, in a roundabout way, helps you grow it.

The other thing that we do … I mean, try owning a business with your wife. If you think about it, your work day never really ends because you could be working all the time. So we try and set a limit — we don’t talk about work after five o’clock. We really try to leave work at work and focus more on our own personal time at home, which for the most part works really well.

Square: What is the best piece of advice you were given when you started to expand?

Keith: One thing that really helped us was knowing that you don’t market to yourself. You draw a picture of who your average consumer is going to be and describe her — it’s a 27-year-old woman, working full-time, might be in a relationship, has a dog. And that’s who you market to, but you never market to yourself, or your wife, or people that you know. You basically just create the fake person that is your average customer and do everything around that. How would this person react if they saw an ad like that? 

Square: What piece of advice would you give other people starting businesses?

Keith: I think the one thing that helped us is that we just went all in. I mean I know that that’s scary to do, but I’ve watched other people do it, I think it helps to really succeed. Just going all in, then you have to succeed. Your paycheck’s basically based on you succeeding.

Learn more about sellers like Bubbly Paws (and like you) on our Instagram — @square.

Strut Your Mutt

Bubbly Paws and our sister business, Pampered Pooch Playground have created "Team Paws and Pooch" for the Strut Your Mutt 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, September 11th at Wolfe Park in St Louis Park.  We are currently working on putting together a great goodie bag including: 

- Custom Team Paws and Pooch T-shirt (must sign up by September 1st)

- $10 Bubbly Paws gift card

- Free 2 hour evaluation at Pampered Pooch Playground, or free nail trim for current customers.

- Fee pint of beer from sisyphus brewery.

- Snacks and goodies

- And more!

For the person that raises the most money on our team, they will score a $50 Bubbly Paws OR Pampered Pooch Playground gift card.

You can join our team and learn more by Clicking Here.  If you can't make it to the event, you can always donate to our team.  If you have questions, please email Ella, our team captain.

WCCO TV at Paws On Grand

A Big thanks to WCCO TV for stopping out to Paws on Grand at our St Paul store.  We love to sponsor such a great event!  You can watch the full video below.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Hundreds of dogs filled St. Paul’s Grand Avenue on Sunday for the annual Paws of Grand event.

Grand Avenue businesses partner with local animal rescue organizations. The event features lots of pet-friendly activities, like a pet photo booth and fashion show.

“Well it’s great, brings a lot of awareness to dog rescue groups and dog related non-profits. It also gets dogs adopted, but also provides a fun, free activity for families to do,” Lill Luce with Bubbly Paws said.

Bubbly Paws and several other businesses along Grand offered special deals and discounts on Sunday.

4th of July Safety Tips


Here is a copy of an article we wrote for the St Louis Park magazine on how to keep your pets safe for the 4th of July.


Keep your furry friends healthy and happy on the Fourth of July.

The Fourth of July holiday is a lot of fun for humans, but dogs don’t always feel the same way. My dog Roxy is terrified of fireworks, and often won’t leave the house for several hours after she hears one. In addition to fireworks, other Independence Day activities can be scary—or even dangerous—for dogs. Here are a few tips for keeping your pooch healthy and happy this Fourth.

Keep dogs inside. You never know when a firework might go off nearby. When dogs are scared, they need to be in a safe, familiar place. When they do go outside, keep them on a leash and keep the outing brief. Aim for longer walks in the morning, when things are quiet. If you go out to parties or fireworks, leave your pooch at home with the air conditioning running and some calm music on.

No table scraps. It’s tempting for dogs to hang out near the barbecue grill, but many common picnic foods are dangerous to dogs—including grapes, avocado, onions and chocolate. To make sure Rover is included in the fun, try some made-for-dogs Bowser Beer or Yoghund ice cream, both available at local pet stores.

Try a calming tablet. During fireworks and thunderstorms, try a natural calming aid like NaturVet’s Quiet Moments tablets, which can help reduce mild and moderate anxiety in dogs. Of course, chat with your vet about any supplements or medications.

Keep collar and tags on. Make sure your pooch wears her collar at all times with your contact information attached. If she does get lost, check the Lost Dogs Minnesota Facebook page, a great resource with over 55,000 followers. —Keith Miller, co-owner of Bubbly Paws Dog Wash and Pampered Pooch Playground.

-- Keith Miller, co-owner of Bubbly Paws Dog Wash and Pampered Pooch Playground.


Full service Dog Wash Opens Third Location in Twin Cities

Maple Grove Magazine - December 2015

Just in time for the holidays, treat your pup to a full or self-service wash or professional grooming at the newest Bubbly Paws location at The Shops at Arbor Lake in Maple Grove. Allow your furry friend to have a grooming experience in a bright, upscale setting. If you are looking for a deep-clean bath, consider the full-service dog wash, where staff members bathe and dry your dog, as well as perform complete ear cleaning, nail trimming and a light brushing.

If you prefer independent bonding time, consider using the fully stocked self-service dog wash. You will find waist high professional tubs as well as necessary materials to allow for a complete cleaning treatment. “Our self-service baths are very family-friendly, and it is not uncommon for kids to stand in the tubs and scrub down their dogs,” says co-owner Keith Miller.

What I hope will be true in 2025… “I would love to see the Twin Cities become even more dog-friendly than we are today! There are a good handful of restaurants and stores that are dog-friendly, but I would love to see even more.” —Keith Miller, co-owner, Bubbly Paws

Pricing varies by breed and other factors.

Maple Grove Magazine - December 2015

Jingle Dogs / St Louis Park Magazine

Jingle Dogs: Holiday Tips for Your Pooch

Bright lights, shiny decorations and lots of company can be stressful for your dog. Here are some tips to help make the holidays more joyful for both of you.

+If you’re leaving your dog behind, make boarding or doggy hotel reservations well in advance. If your facility offers doggy daycare, bring your pet a few times before your trip so he can get accustomed, and leave a few items that will remind him of home.

+Plan ahead for grooming; most shops fill up quickly before the holidays.

+Place candles out of tail’s reach!

+Make sure Fido has his own retreat if he’s easily overwhelmed by company.

+Place tinsel out of the reach of your dog and tape wires and cords down so she doesn’t get tangled in them.

+Keep your pooch away from wrapping paper and string, which can create blockages if swallowed.

+Avoid holly and poinsettia plants, which can be toxic to dogs if eaten.

—Keith Miller is the co-owner of Bubbly Paws Dog Wash and Pampered Pooch Playground in St. Louis Park.

Hero Week 2015

Hero week at Bubbly Paws is back! As a small business, we want to salute all of our nations hero's by offering them 1/2 price self-service baths between September 6-13!!  In addition, Bubbly Paws will donate $5 from every Self-service bath and Grooming appointment to one of the following service groups that helps our nations hero's in the Twin Cities. Police K9 INvest Project - Provides bullet proof vets for police dogs in the Twin Cities area.

Helping Paws - Trains service dogs for those vets that have PTSD.

Customers will be able to pick where the $5 donation goes!

Hero Week at Bubbly Paws Dog Wash
Hero Week at Bubbly Paws Dog Wash

Paws on Grand - 2015


Bubbly Paws is proud to be the presenting sponsor of Paws on Grand which is a huge dog event along Grand Ave in St Paul on Sunday, August 2nd from 11am-3pm. Grab your pooch and make sure to stop over and see us for walk in nail trims and nail grinds from one of our dog groomers with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Pet Project.  While you are at Bubbly Paws, check out our doggie selfie station and our friends from Hero Dog will be there showing off their awesome collars and leashes!  For more information on Paws on Grand, click here!

Thanks Lill


I was  just asked to write a paragraph about one of our employees that has made Bubbly Paws dog wash and grooming the success that it is (this will be featured on something cool in the next few months, but I can't talk about that yet).  It was so hard to narrow it down to just 1 while keeping it under 400 characters!  After about 20 minutes of hard thinking, I decided it was Lill, our General Manager! I copied and pasted the paragraph below! “Our General Manager, Lill has been a huge part of the success of Bubbly Paws!  I remember her first day almost 3 years ago, the day before Thanksgiving and it seemed like the whole city came to bathe their dogs; it was the busiest day we had ever had. It was Lill's first day of training and she killed it with customers even though we had not trained her.  Ever since that day, I knew she would be a huge part of Bubbly Paws. Now she runs the stores! I often find myself saying "how would Lill handle this".  She is more than a General Manager... She is our CBO...  Chief Bubbly Officer! Thanks Lill”

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