New black-owned pet grooming business celebrates opening during pandemic – WLOX

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New black-owned pet grooming business celebrates opening during pandemic – WLOX

By Jasmine Lotts | February 17, 2021 at 6:30 PM CST - Updated February 17 at 6:37 PM BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Despite the pandemic, in th

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By Jasmine Lotts | February 17, 2021 at 6:30 PM CST – Updated February 17 at 6:37 PM

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) – Despite the pandemic, in the past year some new businesses have opened in South Mississippi, and one of them is a new dog grooming business in Biloxi.

Wags N Swag in Biloxi opened its pet grooming business in November of 2020 and is still standing strong. Owners Al Jackson and Ebony Moore initially started out breeding bulldogs out of their home for a year, but since then they’ve turned their love for dogs into a business.

“Breeding was our first priority,” said Moore. “Having so many dogs at the house, all those fur babies, we were like, ‘Hey we need to learn how to cut them ourselves,’ once I learned how to cut them it became fun and something that I was proud to do.”

The business owners said they are self-taught with no experience, which makes them prouder of their accomplishments.

“I believe we’re the first black-owned business, dog grooming business, in the Mississippi Gulf Coast because I haven’t heard of any, so I’m super-duper proud of us,” said Jackson.

Moore also added, “From both of us not being previous business owners, and not coming from a background of business owners, for both of us to pull this together is really exciting.”

The owners didn’t know what to expect from the pandemic, but they both put all their blood, sweat and tears into the business.

“I didn’t know what all the pandemic was going to be at the time, we were planning to open up,” said Jackson. “Now that we did open up during a pandemic it does make a big difference. The people aren’t financially stable, it’s hard times right now.”

Though they’re still standing strong, business is still different due to the pandemic.

“We have some high-end products in here, we’ve learned that people just can’t buy as they please because of the pandemic,” said Moore. “Socially it’s different too. We would love to have an overflow of customers in here, instead of two at a time because of social distancing.”

The owners explained that they’re glad to be able to say that they’ve beaten the odds, and believe they’re a good example for others to look up to.

“I want to push the younger generation to the more positive way,” said Jackson. “I want to show them that you don’t have to turn towards negative things to get away. There’s more positive things you can do.”

Moore also added “Being African American dog groomers is so rare along the Gulf Coast. I’m very excited to be able to pass that along to my younger generation and let them know that you can step outside the box. You can try something different than what you’re comfortable with.”

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