August 2, 2017 Photos by: James T. Mulder/Syracuse.com
It’s a business owner’s worst nightmare–a false review shuts your venture down. One dog groomer known for his loving care of pets was thankfully able to rely on his reputation, and his business is grooming booming again.
Carmen Cesta owns Carm’s Dog House, a grooming business in New York. He prides himself on taking the best care of his pet clients, and has mobile groomers who are able to reach customers in a large area.
In May, a viral post about how one of Cesta’s groomers was posted, accusing one of his mobile groomers of breaking his mother’s dog’s leg when giving a haircut. Of course, pet owners were outraged! How could someone who claims to love and care for pets be so callous?
The post’s widespread reach ended up bringing death threats against Cesta, and immediately, customers began canceling appointments and boarding reservations with Cesta. In nearly no time at all, he lost almost $15,000 in profit and thought the false post would be the end of his career. In the age of social media, it often only takes one post to mar a reputation.
Cesta was distraught by the accusation, knowing his employees were top notch pet lovers, and after a tip came from someone who lived in the apartment complex with the dog came in, he got surveillance video from the complex. The woman who gave Cesta the tip said she often saw an unleashed dog being walked in the complex and maybe video might give insight to see what happened that fateful day in May.
What he saw was shocking, but not because it verified the man’s accusation about his groomer breaking a dog’s leg. Instead, the video showed the poor pup was unleashed at the apartment complex and a good two and a half hours after Cesta’s groomer had finished his work, was hit by a car. That accident was the reason the dog’s leg was so damaged, not Cesta’s groomer.
Cesta felt vindicated, especially as the surveillance video was published and that coverage combined with Cesta’s already established good reputation helped him bring approximately 90% of the lost business back. He says that he still comes across people who saw the video and believe it to be true, though, even though the original poster put an apology post out saying he was terribly sorry to have ruined Cesta’s good name. Damage was done, indeed, but thanks to that video, that hasn’t stopped him from being able to open a second location in Baldwinsville, New York.
He was able to recover from the terrible lie against him and his employees, but he’s learned that some people are just not nice, and will lie with little regard for anyone else’s future. For that reason, he’s installed video cameras in his grooming buildings and mobile vans so that he can easily protect himself against future accusations.
The sad moral of the story is that in this day and age of the internet, we need to research before we jump to the worst conclusion just because we saw it on social media. Thankfully, Cesta was able to bounce back after all of this, but not everyone can so easily. A little research and looking for truth goes a long way. Just ask Carmen Cesta.
Lori Ennis is a wife, mama and friend to all animals. A self-confessed “Hot Mess,” she lives wherever the Marine Corps takes her husband. Currently, that’s Maryland with her very spoiled Labrador Retriever-mix rescue pups and a ton of saltwater fish just tanking around. Lori’s family has fostered dogs for years, mostly Golden Retrievers, and knows no home is complete without an animal buddy (or seven)!