Founded in 1933, the Cedar Rapids chapter of the Iowa Junior Chamber of Commerce—or Jaycees—hones the leadership skills of its members through projects and programs that benefit the community. Once-a-month Sunday breakfasts bring locals together in the common pursuit of pancakes, and Uptown Friday Nights in Green Square Park are filled with music, food, and drinks. The Jaycees also fling wide the doors of its newly opened Jaycee Center to renters for conferences, parties, wedding receptions, and driving-school-class reunions.
Donna Manchester’s favorite part of business is something that’s often overlooked these days: old-fashioned social interaction. Donna talks with customers about their lives, their pets, and their tastes. She also shares her knowledge with them during obedience courses. With more than 25 years of experience teaching dogs to sit, roll over, and stop filling out the newspaper’s crossword puzzles, Donna acts as a local dog whisperer, passing along her tips to pet owners.
Carolyn Schmitz at Destination Massage & Spa practices massage therapy to complement the staff’s aesthetic services. She can soothe sore flexors and impart a sense of calm during sessions that take as long as a leisurely crabwalk from one end of Rhode Island to the other—60 or 90 minutes. If her clients want services to complement a relaxing massage, Carolyn can direct them to hairstylists, nail technicians, and makeup artists.
Woofables’ chefs cater to canines with an array of handmade, preservative-free dog treats. Pups and their owners can waltz into the Woofables' shop to sniff through 16 flavors of specialty dog biscuits including Bark-BQ-Rib biscuits and tooth-shaped Puppermints (each $9.99 per lb.). Bakers handcraft all of the boutique's treats with natural ingredients and no preservatives or chemicals, also stocking an assemblage of specialty treats decorated to look like pizzas, shamrocks, or frogs ($0.99+). Please poodles with chews, gift baskets, and 6-inch birthday cakes, which can be personalized with messages thanking man’s best friend for defending the house against mailmen ($11.99).
The staff at Animal Care Hospital are all, or have all been, pet owners, meaning that they understand the love and companionship pet owners have with their four-legged friends. Providing services that range from general health treatments to surgical procedures, the animal-loving staff keeps their skills up to date to stay abreast of the advancements in veterinary science. They also ensure their diagnostic equipment is state of the art, and with an on-site laboratory, they can quickly screen pawed patients to identify health issues. Animal Care Hospital offers specialty services in treating cancer, heart problems, and eye issues.
Natasha Conner and Elizabeth Heideman know that a dog spa can be a scary place for dogs. After all, much like a first date that's a little too intimate, a trip to the groomer requires a stranger cleaning out their ears, trimming their nails, and brushing their teeth. So Natasha and Elizabeth try to make the experience less traumatic. They pride themselves on taking the time to get to know each dog and comforting the pooches when they get scared during the grooming process. Plus, Natasha and Elizabeth are the only two groomers there, so dogs feel better seeing a familiar face.
Three animal-welfare advocates started the Iowa Humane Alliance in 2008 to reduce companion-animal homelessness and shelter overpopulation by spaying or neutering local animals. It assists local shelters, pet owners, and feral-cat caretakers with a sterilization program and a hotline that provides information about spaying or neutering. Additionally, Iowa Humane Alliance is in the process of expanding to include a high-volume clinic that will provide up to 8,000 spay or neuter surgeries every year.
The grooming staff at Pawz Playstation takes an unusual approach to put pups at ease. Whether it's for a toe-to-tail treatment or just a nail trim, the groomer starts with play time. That play time was so popular that, due to client demand, the grooming salon expanded into a boarding and daycare center. Now, dogs spend their days romping around indoor playgrounds playing Tug of War and chess. By night, they bunk down in spacious rooms big enough for three to share.
Dogs and cats finally exist in harmony at Kritter Kutz, where pet lover and groomer Lisa Adams provides a relaxing spa for four-legged family members. In just 60 minutes, Lisa administers a full head-to-tail cleaning and grooming, starting with a warm bath. From there, she cleans the eyes, ears, and glands. She also clips the nails. Breeds with long, growing hair also receive a haircut. Before sending pets home, Lisa offers their owners tips for keeping fleas at bay without surrounding the home in a ring of fire.