The coronavirus led to some ruff times for dog groomer Brian Taylor.
But Taylor, who calls himself “Dogfather of Harlem,” found a way to reinvent his business amid the pandemic: He’s taken his show on the road, transitioning from his uptown brick-and mortar-shop to a mobile van that wheels around to pamper pups.
The 37-year-old owner of the beloved Harlem Doggie Day Spa at 734 St. Nicholas Ave. — which offers daycare, boarding and walking in addition to grooming services — was initially hit hard by New York City’s shutdown.
A Sierra Leone native, Taylor started his career as a JP Morgan Chase banker, but pivoted 10 years ago to start his pooch parlor. He attracted a coterie of devoted customers in the years since. But as spring, high season for groomers, loomed, COVID-19 catastrophe struck. Office drones were working from home, while frequent fliers were grounded. Their pups, then, didn’t need daycare or boarding.
Annual sales typically hummed to the tune of over $500,000, or upwards of $40,000 a month, but the health crisis forced operations to halt.
“We went down to $10,000 [in sales] for March,” said Taylor, who closed his doors to some 4,000 active pet parents. He was also forced to lay off his entire staff of 12, including many longtimers.
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