The saying, “things happen for a reason,” is certainly appropriate for Animal Attraction, a pet grooming salon located in downtown Wakefield at 403 Main Street. If you were to ask owners Elaine Fabiano or Lorrie Fitzgerald if they thought they would be where they are today, neither of them would say “yes.” Both had entirely different ideas on where they thought their lives would lead them, but both would say they wouldn’t want to be any other place than where they are now.
Twenty years is a long time to be in the same line of work, but it’s not work if you love what you’re doing. And these two truly love what they’re doing. Elaine had several interests before deciding to attend grooming school, and Lorrie was working in Boston as a computer analyst before she, too, decided to attend grooming school.
So how did these two, with very different paths, end up owning a grooming salon together for almost 20 years?
Elaine Fabiano has always been someone who would see an animal and want to take it home. If there was a pet in need, she would be the one to take care of it. Her love for animals runs deep. Taking a leap of faith, she entered grooming school in 1996 so she could care for people’s pets. She never looked back.
Lorrie Fitzgerald always knew she was good with numbers but, as much as she loved animals, she didn’t think about a career that would involve them. One day in 1997 she thought it was time for a change and enrolled in grooming school, her leap of faith. She never looked back.
Both graduated from grooming school and worked at several grooming salons. Although they loved caring for the animals they groomed, there was something missing from their jobs. They both said they felt that the animals in these salons weren’t treated with the same kind of care they thought was appropriate. They thought the salons they were working at treated their furry clients as a means to make a living. They both felt that there was a lack of compassion and knew it was not where they wanted to be.
The two met when they were working for the same pet store chain, and soon recognized in the other that they had the same work ethic. More importantly, they both saw in the other how deeply they loved the pets that were in their care. Somehow, they were going to make it work and open a shop where they could treat the pets with love, kindness, and compassion.
In February 1998, taking another leap of faith, Elaine and Lorrie opened Animal Attraction in Stoneham. The two worked long hours and put their heart into everything they did. Some of their clientele from the previous shops followed them to their new location, some coming from as far as Newburyport and Salem, NH. It was exactly what they both wanted and dreamed it would be. They were able to care for the animals the way they would their own pets. When leaving a pet at Animal Attraction, the owner can rest easy knowing their pet is happy, well-cared for and safe for the short hour or two when left in their care.
“We love what we do and do not consider it a job, rather it’s a privilege when an owner entrusts us with their pet,” Elaine and Lorrie said.
One of the biggest rewards for Elaine and Lorrie is the ability to pay it forward. They both firmly believe that the biggest rewards in life comes from helping those in need. Several animal shelters and rescues look to them for help with their homeless or foster pets.
“It is so rewarding to know we have played a small part in helping a homeless or shelter animal find their forever home,” they added. “Our main concern is, and will always be, the well-being of an animal. If we can help in the care of an animal in need, we’ll make it our priority to get that animal the care it needs and deserves.”
Since Lorrie was born and raised in Wakefield, she knew it well and she soon had Elaine excited about Wakefield’s beautiful downtown. In July 2010, after two years of looking at locations in Wakefield, Elaine and Lorrie closed the doors to their shop in Stoneham and opened in their current location at 403 Main Street. Could they be pushing their luck with this leap of faith? Not one bit. This move turned out to be a yet another blessing for the owners.
“Although there were already several groomers in Wakefield, the appeal of a quaint downtown with the beautiful lake did not deter us,” they continued. “We like the beautiful building we are in, the fact that people stroll, the streets window shopping, and the feeling of a close-knit town.”
Although there were a few bumps in the road along the way for Animal Attraction, Elaine and Lorrie feel blessed to be able to operate a business in Wakefield.
“It’s a great place to be. The townspeople are friendly, the lake and downtown are beautiful, and the fellow business owners are supportive,” the owners concluded.
They feel so fortunate that their journey has led them to where they are today. It’s true, things do happen for a reason!