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Mobile pet grooming thrives during pandemic in Oregon

Several mobile pet salons in the Portland area say they've had hundreds of new service inquiries since the coronavirus pandemic started.

PORTLAND, Ore. — While many businesses took a hit from the economic impacts of COVID-19, mobile pet grooming businesses are picking up speed.

Greg Robeson runs Green Whiskers, which has two vans that travel the Portland metro area.

"During the pandemic, people want services that are not only safe, but are brought to their house," Robeson said. "Makes it easy on everyone."

He said business has picked up significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.

"At one point, we had almost 190 people on our waiting list," Robeson explained.

Kelly Brantley of Kelly's Mobile Paw Spa said it's hard to keep up with the demand.

"My business probably doubled," Brantley said.

Brantley also operates in the Portland area. She initially took a month off at the beginning of stay-at-home directives to figure out safety measures for her business. When she returned to work, she was inundated with questions.

"Ten or twenty phone calls a day from new clients, just wanting quotes, just wanting to know when my next available appointment was," Brantley said.

She ended up hiring help and adding work days to meet demand.

Brantley said most new callers were people who no longer felt comfortable taking pets to indoor salons themselves.

Robeson added more people have adopted pets during the pandemic, adding to the need.

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"We're currently booked out almost four weeks," Robeson said. 

Green Whiskers aims to expand its service with another van soon.

Both businesses had to adjust to safety concerns over COVID-19, but said clients feel more at ease with the mobile salon coming to them.

"I meet [clients] on their porch, and I wear a mask, and they can wear a mask," Brantley said.

"We sanitize any touching surface," Robeson added. "We have a single-use leash that we hand to the pets so that there's nothing in contact physically that has been in the home."

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Robeson explained since it is so difficult to get an appointment right now, basic pet grooming at home is especially important. He recommended people brush pets' fur regularly to avoid matting and potential infections.