National award for Harrogate dog groomer

Grooming Business of the Year winners Verity Watts and Andrew Hardcastle of Shampooches.  (131025M5)
Grooming Business of the Year winners Verity Watts and Andrew Hardcastle of Shampooches. (131025M5)

Harrogate dog groomer Shampooches was this week named Britain’s best pet grooming business at a glittering award ceremony.

The Claro Road business, run by Harrogate Dog Show co-organiser Verity Watts, scooped the Grooming Business of the Year title at the prestigious Pet Industry Federation awards in Kenilworth.

Verity and colleague Andrew Hardcastle were joined by family at the event, and were handed their trophy by Dragons Den millionaire Deborah Meaden.

Verity told the Harrogate Advertiser series: “We were up against some big grooming talents from across the country, so when Deborah Meaden said Shampooches, we were just screaming!

“I was really shocked. They said they were really impressed by the ambition and drive of the business, and our success so far.

“They gave us a glass trophy, which is going on my wall of achievements!”

Verity revealed that she secured a photograph with TV star Meaden before the winners were announced.

She explained: “When we got there, there was a gala dinner before they handed out the awards. There were a few people I knew there.

“I asked for a photo with Deborah Meaden in case I didn’t win and wouldn’t get the chance to meet her.

“She asked where I was from and wished me the best of luck - but she knew we would be meeting again later in the evening.

“I wanted to meet her as I admire her as a businesswoman.”

Verity was congratulated by the Federation, and received a letter from MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough this week.

Mr Jones wrote to tell Verity how proud he was of the win.

Verity said: “We’ve had success already, and now we can put this on the website, and hopefully more people will hear about it.

“I have been invited to speak to students at the Associated Sixth Form at St Aidan’s and St John Fisher schools about my business.”