Start Up Loan Helps Pass Christian Woman Open Pet Grooming Business

PASS CHRISTIAN (WLOX) -- Lacey Collard cut the ribbon on her new pet grooming business, then quickly traded those sheers for some she's more familiar with.

"Yeah, I've got dogs back there waiting on me to groom them," says Collard.

Open since March, Collard admits there weren't many lines in those first days and weeks in business in Pass Christian.

"I'm not going to sugar coat it, says Collard. "It was pretty slow. There were days when I sat around twirling my thumbs, but the day I started getting really busy was the day I went OK, It's about to start paying off. I've been doing it like I said for 4 years and I just finally said, you know what, I would like to do it my way."

Betting with her on her entrepreneurial gamble was the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta.

"I went to the SBA office and they gave me Carmelita's name with ECD/Hope."

ECD/Hope Community Credit Union provides start up capital primarily for small women and minority owned business's.

"We've been on the coast since December of 05," says ECD Program Officer Carmelita Hanshaw. "So we've done several loans. We've done loans for restaurants. I mean this is what we want to do. We find that to provide individuals with wealth, it's starts with owning your own business. And that's what we try to focus on."

Through their partnership with a program called Accion USA, ECD Program Officer Carmelita Hanshaw says they help new entrepreneurs who historically, have found getting such help difficult.

"They look at the experience and say, well, you're not into it," says Hanshaw. "Some people think women are fickle."

But only thing fickle at Happy Tailz is the occasional cat that comes in for a bath. Customers Collard says she would never have seen, if someone hadn't taken a chance on her.

"They're wonderful to work with," says Collard.