About

Gia Trapani

Co-owner Gia Trapani has always loved animals, so it is only natural that she devotes her life to working with them. In fact, she has worked with pets since childhood, first helping her parents run their licensed in Kansas no kill animal shelter, to then cleaning the shop of her family’s dog groomer (where incidentally she met a young Barb Hoover who was herself just learning to groom!), to managing a local pet sitting company and training to groom, to the finally fully realized dream of co-owning a pet care company and co-owning a dog and cat grooming salon.

She holds an associates degree in arts and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Journalism and creative writing (she did not declare a minor but lacked only a couple credit hours from one in Sociology). As a pet care professional, she is driven and passionate and takes her career very, very seriously. She is pet CPR certified (and has been twice) and is all about continuing education classes and learning continuously about the beings she works with everyday. Particular areas of interest she reads/studies up on and attends conferences on are animal communicating, the safe proper use of essential oils around animals, canine massage, canine nutrition, and proper skin and coat care.

When she isn’t working, Gia enjoys odd films (David Lynch, John Waters, and Almodovar are some of her favorite directors and she loves really bad lesbian and really bad horror films), binge watching The Walking Dead and American Horror Story (especially season 3), and re watching X Files episodes. She is a writer (of poetry mainly and some short stories) and is also a voracious reader of both fiction and non fiction and her personal library of books is one of her most cherished things.

Most of all though, she enjoys spending time with her wife, co-owner Jennifer Orton, a small trusted circle of friends whom they regularly brunch with on Sundays (they love to find new local places to get their eat on at) and playing with and snuggling with and just being with the biggest delights of her life, her pack of dogs.

Jen Orton

Co-owner, Jennifer Orton, grew up in Arkansas before moving to Kansas City. An avid equestrienne, she considered studying veterinary medicine before realizing that foreign language was her niche. She holds a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature, and an M.A. in French Language Literature.

Jennifer regularly attends continuing education and specialty classes for groomers. She is AKC certified in Safety and Poodles, certified in Creative grooming, and is a Certified Canine Esthetician. She enjoys working with curly coated breeds, and hand stripping wire-coated breeds.

A lifelong dog owner, Jennifer considers her dogs her children, and prefers to spend her spare time with them. She and Albus, Felix , and Nyx enjoy traveling to conformation dog shows, and training and competing in AKC Rally. She is an active member of the Heart of America Poodle Club. She and Cécile enjoy swimming together in Lake Michigan on summer vacations, and catching movies at the drive-in. Jennifer enjoys attending arts events in Kansas City, traveling, reading, painting, and gardening.

Dorothy Hazel Darst

Whether you know her as Dotty or Hazel, if you know her, you love her and her contagious optimism. A second generation groomer, she has been grooming since she was 15 and she is certified in many areas: American Red Cross cat and dog first aid and CPR certified; AKC salon safety certified; International Professional Groomers Inc. certified Salon professional. She is also a member in good standing with National Dog Groomer’s Association of America, International Professional Groomers Inc., and American Professional Pet Groomer’s Association. She attends continuing education conferences and is a subscriber to the Groom Source Educational Series. She specializes in gentle safe grooming for small dogs. She worked full time for us for a couple years, and has continued as a relief and holiday groomer for us for many years. While she recently closed her own home based shop, Aunt Hazel’s, to pursue a new passion in human salon work, she will continue to groom her own pets and fill in when we need and at holidays. In her spare time she is the proud mom to her honor roll member, softball playing teen daughter, Simon, and a loving wife to her hubby, Joe. As a family, they enjoy the company of their two Bichons, Suki and Babette. She is also an avid fan of The Golden Girls series and corny dad jokes.

John G. Riles

John has been around dogs his entire life and only known the pet industry as far as employment goes: his one and only job that he had in high school was at Four Paws Pantry and Spa as a bather. He bathed there for about four years before his job became more of a passion and true career option and thus his grooming career began to evolve. Around February of 2021 he started to getting into grooming by practicing on his family dogs here and there. He absolutely fell in love with the process of making a dog look incredible. In May of 2021, he took the next steps and began grooming school at Captain Creek Ranch in Eudora, KS. He completed their program and received his certificate from there and went on to blossom into the groomer he is today. He tried a couple shops before finding his home at SGBG, where he is being mentored by the senior groomers and honing his scissor skills and techniques and he says he couldn’t be happier! He looks forward to making your pups look and feel like a million bucks! In his off time he enjoys lifting weights, playing video games and spending time with his beloved dogs, Delilah, a spunky Australian Cattle Dog, and Nova, his sweet, shy standard poodle.

Barb Hoover

Barb has been in the grooming industry for 38 years. She is a National Certified Master Groomer, Certified Canine Esthetician and an award winning industry educator traveling coast to coast and teaching. She has been interviewed by and written articlesfor national and industry publications including Scotgroom Training in Lanuke Scotland, Veterinary Practice News, First For Woman magazine, Groomer to Groomer magazine and Professional Groomer Magazine. She created and hosts an annual continuing education conference here in KCMO. It is notable for being set up in a small, intimate style, more like salons of old. She was nominated for Cardinal Crystal’s Outstanding Contribution to the Industry in 2005 and 2006. And she was quite honored to receive the award in 2007.

Barb was a Barkleigh Honor Award Nomineein 2011 and 2014, Her book The Difficult Dog won the Barkleigh Honor for Book of the Year in 2018. Barb’s passion is in behavior work and working with puppies and those that just need a little help to learn that grooming does not have to be a scary experience. Her methods and skill set have turned many dogs deemed ungroomable into dogs that drag their owners into the salon.

In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her daughter and grandson, weekend camping/hiking adventures, horror movies (the cornier the better) and true murder podcasts/documentaries. She and Gia also enjoy the occasional old heavy metal concert together, especially if it’s Alice Cooper.
She currently shares her home with two senior Standard Poodles, her silver, Drew and her white, Addie, an ornery Doberman, Darius, and a feisty kind of nutty little toy poodle, Lola, who rules the roost.

Katelyn Peterman

Katelyn started her grooming career in 2007, shortly after graduating high school. Many years, and several moves later, she’s ended up in Kansas City to be close to her family. She is an internationally award winning groomer who is certified in Sporting, Terriers and Non Sporting dogs through the National Dog Groomers Association of America. She is also a National Certified Master Groomer through the NDGAA. She also co-hosts an industry nominated podcast centered around educating other groomers called The Rough In.

Here at SGBG, she specializes in geriatric dogs and dogs with limited mobility and those who have anxiety around being groomed. Other skills include handstripping, hand scissor trims, and breed profile trims for the AKC recognized breeds. She takes part in many seminars and courses, continuing her education consistently.

She has a quick sharp wit and an intelligent sense of humor, and she has also been a member of Mensa. Outside of work she enjoys Star Trek, Star Wars, all things science, astrology, bird watching (her bird calls are amazing), spending time with her two daughter’s, Caroline and Amelia, and working with/playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Rocket, and Bedlington Terrier, Artoo.

Madison Palmer

Madison, aka the kid, is our youngest staff member. She began as a bather and quickly worked her way to groomer assistant and is now on her way to becoming a groomer. She got into grooming because of a love for animals and a love for art…for many, good grooming really is a work of art. She became a voulenteer at her local shelter at age 12 and is still there 11 years later. She always had a particular passion for dogs but was never planning on being a groomer (it had never even been a thought) tho she always knew she wanted a career that involved animals. About 4 years ago tho, while working a high school job, in walked a lady covered in dog hair. When she got to the counter and Madison asked what she did for a living, the woman said she was a mobile dog groomer. The kid asked if she was looking for help and said if she was, Madison would quit her job right then and there and start for her. The woman hired her and she has been in the dog business ever since, and loves it! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her own crazy bunch of 4 dogs (Max, Diesel, Nikka, Chevelle, and Monte) a cat, horse back riding, and trying new things outdoors.

Louise

Louise is one of our newest staff members at Simply Grooming. She has been in the industry since 2018 after being introduced to grooming by a friend who worked in another salon that needed help. Louise happened to be looking for a job, so decided to try it out. It was love and since then, she has excitedly been learning and growing as a professional groomer. She says it’s a blast taking care of folks furry buddies and she’s happy to be a part of our team and looks forward to getting to know all of you! Outside of work, her favorite hobbies are reading, exploring the city, eating and spending time with friends, family and her two kitties, Raven and Mable. She grew up all over Kansas and Missouri, so she also has a natural love for traveling when she has time off.