Since their inception in 1988, the ‘Crystal Awards’ have come to signify the very highest standards of excellence in the pet grooming industry. Like a Hollywood Oscar statuette, the 12-inch engraved Crystal Obelisk is a coveted symbol that proclaims its owner a member of the most elite group within his/her profession.
Sponsored by Cardinal Pet Care, in Azusa, a California-based pet products supplier, and marketed by MacFadden Communications, the publisher of Pet Business and Grooming Business magazines, the prestigious awards are given out annually every September at the Superzoo Pet Retailer Trade Show in Las Vegas. They are announced at a dinner that has all the red-carpet glitz and glamour of the movie industry’s Academy Awards – which is perhaps why the Crystals have often been referred to as the pet grooming industry’s version of the Oscars!
According to Cardinal Pet Care President and CEO Tony de Vos, the idea behind the Cardinal Crystal Grooming Achievement Awards is to promote and recognise excellence in pet grooming, while creating a greater spirit of cooperation and sharing throughout the grooming community. According to Tony, whose company has been serving groomers for over 60 years, “We started the Cardinal Crystal Grooming Achievement Awards with the idea that by honouring groomers who have made truly outstanding achievements, it would raise the level of professionalism in our industry as a whole. In addition, providing top groomers with well-deserved recognition, the Crystal Awards have served as a communications platform that makes it easier for leading industry members to share their knowledge and techniques with other groomers, to the benefit of all.”
Making a difference…
While the dogs who get beautified by groomers have kennel club shows to compete and win awards in, the accomplishments and contributions of the groomers themselves have often gone unnoticed. Yet, it is those very groomers who can make a big difference, not only in a dog’s appearance, but also his health and well-being, added Barbara Denzer, Vice President of Cardinal Pet Care. “When a groomer sees a dog regularly, she is often the first to spot rashes, swellings or changes to his skin or coat, and can alert the pet parent to these problems,” said Barbara. “Groomers work tirelessly as first-line pet care professionals, and that’s another reason why Cardinal is proud to honour them with the Crystal Awards.”
Cardinal Crystal Grooming Achievement Awards are awarded to grooming professionals who are voted by their peers to be tops in eight different categories:
- American Groomer of the Year – Based on grooming ability; knowledge of correct breed standards; wins and awards in the competitive ring; professional attitude and good sportsmanship.
- International Groomer of the Year – Same criteria as above, except recipient is from outside the United States.
- Grooming Contest Judge of the Year – Given to an individual who has made a valuable contribution to the grooming world as a contest judge, has strong knowledge of breeds and contest rules, and demonstrates honesty and courage of convictions.
- The Congeniality Award – Recipient has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship, fellowship and camaraderie.
- Retail Grooming Salon of the Year with Five Stores or Fewer – Awarded to a groomer in a retail environment who maintains the highest standards of professionalism and customer service.
- Retail Grooming Salon of the Year with More Than Five Stores – Same as above, but the business has more than five stores.
- Mobile Groomer of the Year – Awarded to an individual who runs a mobile grooming business that maintains the highest standards of professionalism and customer service.
- The David G Salzberg Award for Outstanding Contribution – Honours an individual or organisation that has contributed most significantly to the advancement of the grooming industry through service or research.
What all of the Crystal Award winners have in common, along with their commitment to excellence and professionalism in their industry, is a strong love and regard for the well-being of pets.