Fur-bearing residents and their owners rejoiced Tuesday morning, March 28, with the arrival of a popular pet groomer’s first brick-and-mortar shop downtown.

Gabe DeLeon and his wife, Yari, have opened Grooming By Gabe at 102 Old Ridgefield Rd., just to the left and below Village Market (next to the Turnover Shop).

After seven years of Gabe operating a popular mobile animal groomer business solo, trimming and coiffing pets throughout Fairfield County, the couple is thrilled to have found a forever home in Wilton where they’ll be able to work together.

“It’s a dream,” Yari said, noting the many people who have stopped by the store anxiously asking when they would open, and the welcoming response from several neighboring merchants who brought gifts for their first day.

Gabe & Yari DeLeon on opening day of their new shop just below The Village Market. Credit: Jarret Liotta

“They came with cookies. They came with desserts. Everybody’s been so kind,” she said, giving special mention to the help their landlord provided in making everything run smoothly after they started their search for a store in November.

At the age of 18, after taking a job shampooing dogs, Gabe realized he had a calling.

“I’ve been grooming for almost 25 years now,” he said, both knowledgeable about his craft and the unique customers he serves.

The DeLeons themselves have six dogs, including four mixes, a Schnauzer and a Shih Tzu.

“I’m kind of a dog person,” Gabe said.

All photos by Jarret Liotta.

He said grooming is not only aesthetic, but aids in an animal’s health. Along with cuts and trims, the business also offers flea and tick baths and tooth brushing.

And it’s not only dogs, with some cat customers and other animals on their client list.

“I used to have a few Angora rabbits a few years ago,” he said, though they’ve waned in popularity. “We had a few guinea pigs come in for a wash and a trim.”

The DeLeons made a point of opening a location that was full of light, with the work done in the front of the shop in full view.

“We wanted everyone to see what was going on,” Gabe said, with many passers-by pausing at the large picture window during their first day to watch him in action.

Unlike other shops, he said, the environment here provides space where the animals are permitted to walk freely, or lie down while they wait to be picked up.

“One of the main concerns people have is not having their dog sit in a crate all day,” Gabe said.

While he said that walk-ins will be welcome if time permits, they generally work by appointment, and it appears they’re going to be busy.

“We’ve been having so many calls in the last couple of days,” he said.

The reliance on a quality grooming professional is clear to many dog owners, who’ll bring their pets in every six or eight weeks.

“Her hair gets so long and she looks disheveled,” Wilton resident Monica Sprei said, explaining that her poodle Phoebe Flower doesn’t shed, but must have her hair shortened. “They need a haircut.”

All photos by Jarret Liotta.

With Gabe’s arrival Tuesday, Sprei said she was thrilled to have the service provided right in town.

“I love it,” she said.

Tracy Banahan of Wilton echoed the sentiment, particularly pleased to have Gabe right in the village center.

“My friend Ann has been talking about Gabe for years,” she said.

Grooming By Gabe is open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information visit Grooming by Gabe online.

3 replies on “Wilton says ‘Woof!’ to Welcome Grooming by Gabe into New Town Center Storefront”

  1. We have been loyal customers of Gabe for over 15 years. He is the most caring and gentle person in his care and treatment of our two dogs. We are so lucky to have him right here in Wilton.
    He is simply the best.
    Susan & Mike Safko

  2. What a wonderful new addition to the Brick and Mortar shops that call Wilton home! Here’s to your success Gabe and Yari!

  3. This is fabulous! I am on my third cocker spaniel who is groomed by Gabe! I constantly have received compliments on my dogs’ grooming over the years and people always want to know by whom she is groomed. I am happy to now give them the information on Gabe’s new Wilton Grooming Salon.

    We live in NYC but I bring my Cocker Spaniel Harper to Gabe in CT because he is hands down the best dog groomer in the tri-state area.

    I am sure Gabe will get many people from the City.

    And Gabe loves the dogs and it really shows.

    Good luck in your new venture!

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