By Corey Meints of Times Citizen

Stefanie Koenig, Regional Director for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) presented Donna Cretin (right) with the SBDC Small Business of the Month award. Cretin recently expanded her business, Donna's Dog Grooming and Boarding.
Stefanie Koenig, Regional Director for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) presented Donna Cretin (right) with the SBDC Small Business of the Month award. Cretin recently expanded her business, Donna’s Dog Grooming and Boarding.

When Donna Cretin first opened Donna’s Dog Grooming & Boarding at 17978 Q Ave, southeast of Iowa Falls two years ago, she just wanted to continue doing what she loved. She was recognized for that-and her recent expansion-on Friday.

Stefanie Koenig, Regional Director for North Central Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), was on hand to present Cretin with the award. The honor is giving to Iowa businesses that have shown an ability to succeed and expand.

Koenig said her office works with entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their small business. She said it is a free service that offers advice and other help.

“We are a free resource across the state of Iowa that helps people just like Donna with getting together a business plan and getting ready to go to the bank,” Koenig said. “Not only that, but we partner with them through the life of their business when they’re looking to expand and helping them through that process.”

Koenig said her office helped Cretin through every phase of the businesses, including the recent addition of new dog runs.

“It’s great to see people like Donna who have really put the work in to be a successful businesses,” Koenig stated. “Small business is a huge thing in Iowa. “Small business is a huge thing in Iowa. In the 99 counties in the state, 75 percent of business are small businesses.”

Koenig said the award presented to Cretin is a statewide thing. Something even Cretin didn’t realize.

“It is a huge thing,” Koenig said. “And it’s a huge thing for us, too. It’s a great honor for us to single out one of the small businesses in our territory and tell them that they’re not just standing out in the area, but also in the State of Iowa. Donna is doing great things. It’s nice to be able to tell others to look at her and what she’s doing.”

Cretin, who was joined by her husband Jody, former property owner Joy Drier, Iowa State Bank representatives, John DeBerg and Fred Maifeld and Iowa Falls Area Development Corporation Executive Dircetor Cindy Litwiller. said she is honored by the award.

“I knew i was nominated, but at first I thought it was just Hardin County,” Cretin said. “Then I found out it was the whole state with 15 nominees, it’s crazy. Just to be nominated felt great. In 28 years of doing this, I have never been acknowledged for it other than one year in Cedar Falls being named Groomer of the Year.”

That award, however, was earned while working for somebody else. She has been on her own since, but this is her only foray into grooming and boarding on her own in a facility that isn’t her garage.

Cretin added six new kennels to the business last summer, bringing the number up to 16. All, she noted, are routinely in use. She also said her business has grown more than she could have imagined, noting she has clients from around the area as well as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and even Rhode Island.

In total, she has clients from 59 towns. Some knew her before, others find her through Facebook, and employ her when they come to the area on business or to visit family. Most are regulars, even planning those visits to the area around the grooming schedule of the pet.

I”m averaging 25-35 groom dogs a week,” Cretin said. “And I’ve been full in the kennel often. Business has gone very well and this award is just great.”

For more information, contact Corey Meints at Times Citizen.