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Groomed for success: Son takes over Raul's Pet Center as father retires
By Camille Ricketts
Special to the Almanac
Publication Date: Wednesday, July 23, 2003
For Jim Perez, every workday for the last 26 years has been a family affair. Son of Raul Perez, longtime owner of Raul's Pet Center in North Fair Oaks, Jim has decided to fly solo for the first time in his career, opening his own pet grooming business in Redwood City last month following his father's retirement.
The new shop, Raul's Grooming Center, located at 1530 Main St., is as close as many dogs will get to day spa. Equipped with industrial-sized bathtubs and a variety of shampoos, Jim provides each canine customer with a full-service wash, including toenail clipping, and topped off with a nice fluff-dry. He also sells a range of pet products, from brushes and flea ointments to toys and dog treats.
"Raul's Pet Center has been in this area so long, it's practically an institution," Jim says. "That's why I kept Raul in the new place's name, that and to honor my father in a way. You have to appreciate a guy who's been grooming animals for as long as he has."
Raul spent 47 years in the pet shop business, only recently selling the building he had owned and operated for more than three decades. The store had also been the setting for Jim's youth, and eventual career.
"I chose this line of work because I always enjoyed working with the animals from the time I was a kid," Jim says. "Then again, I guess I did it for the same reason Michael Douglas became an actor. There's always that pull to follow your father's example."
Jim started helping his father around the shop at age 15, a job that grew steadily into a partnership. Over the years, Raul's wife Linda, and daughter Heather also worked at the pet center, which quickly became a hub for the entire Perez family.
"I think that every relative we had worked at the shop at one point or another," Jim says. "We'd have aunts, uncles, cousins who would all come and work during the summer, temporarily, or part-time."
As one of 11 children, Raul never had to worry about being understaffed. Born into a family where fieldwork seemed to be his only option, he left home at a young age in search of a different lifestyle.
"I was 15 and looking around for a job doing, well ... anything, when I found work at this pet supply shop called Gindele's in Menlo Park," Raul says. "That was in 1956, and I've been at it ever since."
When the owner of Gindele's fell ill, Raul stepped in and rapidly expanded the store's business. He outgrew the building by 1960 and moved to a new location in the 500 block of Santa Cruz Avenue, naming the new place Beauty Salon for Dogs.
But the shop continued to grow as Raul increased his clientele and began carrying more name brand supplies. Still in need of even more space, he moved once again to the final site of Raul's Pet Center on El Camino Real near Fifth Avenue.
"After almost 50 years of work, I decided enough was enough," he says of his decision to retire to his 40-acre ranch in Sonora. "But at the same time I want to say a big thank you to everyone that has supported us in this community for so many years."
Described by his son as a cowboy at heart, Raul hopes to spend his retirement riding horses, working around the farm, and generally enjoying the countryside that reminds him of his youth.
"Whenever you work with family, there are a lot of benefits -- you're allowed to yell at your employees as much as you want," he says with a chuckle. "Then again, you can't fire anyone. So it really is a balance."
Similarly, Jim says that working with his family has been both the best and most influential part of his work.
"Of course working with family has its ups and downs, but I think it really is a special experience," he says. "Most people only see their families when they get home at night; I get to spend every day with them. Good things have happened and bad things have happened, but the important thing is we have all these memories."
Raul's Grooming Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 368-0284.


Raul’s Grooming Center
1530 Main Street  
Redwood City, CA 94063

Phone: 650-368-0284


8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Since 1956

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