Pet salon

From COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter, How Bingo Pet Salon Sails in 2020

Follow the rules
The third time this happened, Brian Lane called the police. An angry, possibly drunk, customer was calling Lane in the middle of the night to curse him for refusing to make a hair appointment during the novel coronavirus shutdown. But Lane, who isn’t a stylist, owns Bingo Pet Salon. And the man in question was calling on behalf of his shaggy dog.
“It was a bit disturbing to have these [calls] day after day after day, ”Lane admitted. “He was the only one who was really that bad. Most of the people were understanding. I know some people have been to places that were still open that weren’t supposed to be. I wasn’t going to say no to people. They are desperate to have their dogs groomed.
Lane told Bingo that they were adamant about following the posted guidelines.
“I had people calling me, and we were like, ‘We can’t groom your dogs. We cannot do nail clippings. There is nothing we can do, ”Lane said.
To offer advice to her desperate clients, Lane shared videos with instructions on how to brush her dog and trim their nails at home. Yet he answered 20 to 30 calls a day.
Temporarily closing the doors of Bingo was not the only misfortune linked to the virus that plagued Lane: he contracted the disease himself. Lane believes her husband, Clinton, caught the virus from the restaurant where he works in Royal Oak during the city’s St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl. But Clinton showed no signs of COVID-19, so they concluded it was asymptomatic and then passed it on to Lane.
“I felt like I had run a marathon every day for about a week,” Lane said, describing the effect the illness had on him. “My body was just hurting. I was sick. I was tired. And then I couldn’t lie down, so I was pacing a lot, because when I was lying down, whatever part of my body I was lying on, I was hurt.
At that time, the hospital refused Lane a test because his fever was not high enough to warrant one. When he finally received a test, the results were delayed and then lost. In the end, Lane got a good checkup.
“Even though I was in pain for about a week, a lot of people got it a lot worse,” Lane admitted. “But while I was at home I was like, ‘Keep calling me, I’m just sitting at home, in quarantine.'”
But Lane wasn’t just worried about his own health. He had to mind his own business and his staff. He said the hardest thing for him when Bingo was shut down was making sure his groomers were getting their unemployment benefits.
“I told them to relax, to enjoy your free time,” Lane said. “Let me worry about the business. Let me worry about this stuff. I felt like I was trying to do whatever I could to relieve them. “
The good news for Bingo came in the form of an approval for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, an Oakland County grant, and an economic disaster relief loan through Small Business. Association.

New space
As if running a business through a pandemic wasn’t stressful enough, Lane had the added challenge of the planned relocation of his Royal Oak store. Formerly located on 4th Street in downtown Royal Oak, Bingo is now located at 719 E. 11 Mile Road, several blocks east of the Emagine Theater and just west of the Royal Oak Hotel .
While Lane and his groomers had 1,000 square feet to work in the old space, the new location more than doubled the staff workspace to 2,500 square feet. There is now a small retail area, including CBD pet products. And not only that, Bingo has won a parking lot, which has become a popular piece of equipment for owners of Yorkies teacups and bullmastiffs – not to mention cats, which Bingo also grooms.

BTL Photo: Andrew Potter

“We were supposed to be moved before the closure, but the city couldn’t do their inspections, so we finally moved here on July 1,” Lane explained. “So it was tough and stressful. Our industry is a little more recession-proof. Everything related to pets. People love their pets. They studied. People will avoid getting a haircut to get their dog’s hair cut because they don’t want to be around their smelly, smelly dog. So we are in a good industry that can bounce back.
When Bingo finally reopened, the demand to make an appointment was overwhelming. For a week, Lane received 400 to 500 calls per day from its more than 6,000 customers.
“We told people that we don’t judge anyone by the condition of your dogs when they come in because we know everyone was in the same situation. We call it COVID shaves or corona shaves, which everyone got in, and it was like, yes, everyone was shaving. We don’t have time to spend three hours brushing a tangled dog, unfortunately due to the amount of dogs we welcome.
Just as Lane doesn’t judge clients based on the condition of their pets, neither does he judge them based on their personal circumstances. In fact, he showed compassion for his clients’ difficulties.
“I’ve had clients come in and say, ‘I lost my job and I can’t pay a lot.’ So there were times when I was like, “Well, what can you afford? ” “, did he declare. “If you don’t empathize with people, you suck.”

BTL Photo: Andrew Potter

New uniform
It’s clear that under Lane’s leadership and head groomer Helen Quinn, bingo is a business with a conscience. Another proof of this is Bingo Cares, Lane’s non-profit organization that offers free grooming to rescue organizations and shelters, which increases the likelihood of homeless animals being adopted, as long as the agency is a 501 (c) (3) registered non-profit organization. These services are provided by Bingo Institute of Grooming, a grooming school that Lane started with Jessica Conway five years ago.
Yet Bingo sets an example that goes beyond good animal management. As evidenced by him and his staff wearing black t-shirts with slogans like “Black Lives Matter”, “Trans Lives Matter” and “Women’s rights are human rights,” Lane does not hesitate to convey a message of justice. pro-social.
“I am a big supporter of the social [justice] questions, ”Lane said. “And I would absolutely be ready to say to anybody who came here and was like, ‘I don’t support this’, to say,’ Okay, turn around and go. Because a big problem with what I see where we are as a country is that too many people are like, “Well, I don’t want to talk about this; it’s uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortable, ”Lane said. “The change must be uncomfortable. And uncomfortable conversations have to take place for meaningful change to happen.
Lane said having a platform like social media with so many followers has enabled the company to take a stand and lead by example. This was visible when Quinn arrived one morning in tears after the murder of George Floyd and Lane wanted to do something.
“I bought these shirts for them,” Lane said. ““ Trans Lives Matter ”,“ Love is Love ”,“ Science is not a liberal conspiracy ”,“ Black Lives Matter. “
Lane told his employees that with their Bingo logo scrubs, the new T-shirts were now part of their uniform choices.

Brian Lane bought social justice t-shirts for his staff and posted a photo of him and his staff wearing them on social media. Lane said having a platform like social media with so many followers has enabled the company to take a stand and lead by example. Courtesy photo.

“Something has to be done and something has to be said and people have to listen, and the more they see things, the more I think there is an opportunity for change to happen,” Lane said. “People shut up and say nothing.”
Lane shared the story of meeting a new neighbor when he and her husband moved to Hazel Park.
“I have a neighbor who has a Confederate flag in his yard and they have the Trump signs on their car,” Lane said. “And my husband said to me, ‘But they’re nice to us.’ But the first thing they said to us when we moved in [was], ‘We agree that you are gay. At least you’re not black. It’s not OK with me.
“Nothing will change if we just let the status quo be what the status quo is,” Lane continued. “So I posted this photo.”
The photo of Bingo staff received overwhelmingly positive comments on social media.
“I’ve always said that anyone who feels uncomfortable, this is a safe place to come,” Lane said. “If someone was passing by and felt like they were accosted by someone because they were female or gay or trans or black or Muslim, you can walk into my shop and c is a safe place. I do not tolerate intolerance here.

Learn more about Bingo Pet Salon online at bingopetsalon.com or by calling 248-544-7424. The store is located at 719 E. 11 Mile Road in Royal Oak.


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