#LoudounPossible Success Story: Belly Rubs Biscuit Bar & Spa

SBW Belly Rubs Biscuit and Spa

This feature on Belly Rubs Biscuit Bar & Spa is part the #LoudounPossible Success Story series compiled in celebration of Loudoun Small Business Week 2022. For more information on the week’s festivities, plus other engaging stories of sustainable business growth, please visit LoudounSmallBiz.org.

 

Bringing Personal Touch to Pet Care

Everything about Belly Rubs Biscuit Bar & Spa in Ashburn is designed with the customer in mind; both the two-legged and four-legged kinds. After all, it is the place where dogs take their humans.

Teresa Hogge opened Belly Rubs in 2008, recognizing a gap in the dog care industry in Loudoun, a county where many households have dogs and more than one working adult.

“Most pet groomers then, and even still today, operate in a way that required dogs to be left with a groomer all day long,” she explained. “I noticed how upset and exhausted my two fur babies were when they came home after a long day at the groomer, and I wanted to solve this problem for myself and other pet owners.”

Hogge opened Belly Rubs first as a dog walking and petsitting service that paid to put her through dog grooming school. Upon completion in 2010, she graduated to a mobile grooming van and did that for two years before opening a brick and mortar location. In 2014, Hogge added the biscuit bar, stocked with treats that live up to her standard of quality.

“I was in hospitality before establishing Belly Rubs Biscuit Bar & Spa, and I opened and managed several hotels in the region. I learned a lot about how to operate and manage a successful business, which gave me the confidence to make the leap,” she said. “I have a passion for animals. Growing up I always wanted to work with animals but knew I couldn’t work in the veterinary field–my heart just couldn’t stand the harder parts of that profession.  

“I never really knew of all of the other areas in the world of pet care that were possible until I had my own needs as a pet parent.”

What started as a personal mission has blossomed into a successful business with nine groomers and seven client care team members. The best part is, there is ample room for growth.

“Loudoun County has a great pet community. There are so many resources in the county to support pet owners and their fur babies, whether it’s professional services or the ability to share experiences with your pet, like parks/hiking trails, breweries, restaurants and other pet-friendly businesses,” she explained. “Pets are no longer looked at as just a pet. They are part of our families.

“Ensuring the best possible care for them, and sharing our daily lives with them is what makes Loudoun County a great place to be a pet parent!”

Finding Meaning in Sadness

One thing that separates Belly Rubs Biscuit Bar & Spa from the pack is its mission to eradicate cancer. That’s why 10% of all sales are donated to fund oncology research, both for canines and humans.

“It stems from watching family members, both human and fur babies, lose their personal battles with cancer. Both of my paternal grandparents and my brother, at the young age of 50, lost their battles with cancer. I have shared my home and heart with four dogs since moving to Northern Virginia and three of them wore the Canine Cancer Warrior badge and ultimately lost their battles,” Hogge explained. “I was raised in a family that giving back to our community is just what you do. I am blessed and it is my desire and duty to pass those blessings on to others.”  

Many customers seek her counsel when dealing with their own canine cancer news. While these conversations are often sad, they also motivate her.

“I have had countless phone calls with clients telling me that they had to say goodbye to their dog due to cancer. Each of these losses affects me deeply and I want to be a part of the solution,” she said. “Belly Rubs not only supports our canine community but ultimately our human clients and community too.”

In this way, Belly Rubs Biscuit Bar & Spa is ahead of the research. 

In Spring 2022, Virginia Tech unveiled its Cancer Research Alliance, an interdisciplinary cohort of more than 100 experts in cancer research and oncological care. Its goal is to forge new collaborations across research and species.

“Much of the innovative research that begins with canine oncology is carried over to human oncology, which has led to new diagnostic and treatment options that have saved lives,” Hogge noted. “There are now collaborative efforts within the canine and human oncology fields, working towards the common goal of cancer no longer being a death sentence.”

Reasons to Wag Your Tail

Like so many Loudouners, Hogge is a transplant, moving to Northern Virginia from Southern Virginia in 1998, and moving to Loudoun in 2005. 

Today, she can’t imagine living or owning a business anywhere else.

“Loudoun County is a fantastic place to open a business. To me and my team, #LoudounPossible means community,” she said. “As we look to grow our business, we look to do so in Loudoun, serving our community of clients here. They are the reason why we have seen so much professional success.”

Hogge credits the community with carrying them through COVID-19, working within the protocols to deliver business while keeping everyone safe. Now in a position to thrive, Belly Rubs is expanding to a pop-up retail space in One Loudoun for the 2022 summer season.

For the Belly Rubs Biscuit Bar & Spa team, success is always a product of service.

“Anyone looking to open a business, in Loudoun County or anywhere around the world: approach your business with a mindset of serving your clients,” she said. “Then you will find yourself with a business that is not only successful but one that you love.

“We also support our fellow businesses because we want to see everyone thrive in Loudoun County.”

 

Thinking of starting or relocating your business in Loudoun County? We are a full-service economic development organization, dedicated to your #LoudounPossible business success. Working with us is like adding a team of no-cost specialists to your team, with expertise in the following areas:

  • Site selection and real estate searches;
  • Workforce development and pipeline support;
  • Process and permit navigation;
  • Fast-track and financial incentives;
  • Marketing and communications outreach;
  • Networking, resource and industry introductions.

Contact Dave Diaz today to launch your #LoudounPossible journey.

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