By DALE MADISON
Jeff Forrest and Richard Hyatt say they have never met a pet they didn’t like, although Forrest admits that “there have been pets that really didn’t care for us,” and lets out a hearty laugh. His partner, the quiet Hyatt, reflects, “Can you believe that we have never had a fight?”
It’s easy to see how they get along. Forrest is the prankster and Hyatt is the stylist. Hyatt says his work as a hair stylist in New York made it a natural transition. “We started out in the Garment District in a shop that was 504 square feet, but we were there and we loved Manhattan,” recalls Forrest.
“We loved New York City, but there came a time that we didn’t want to shovel snow and we didn’t want to be cold,” explains Hyatt, less quiet now. “We used to vacation in South Florida, and one day we just said, ‘It’s time,’ so we kept those items that we really wanted, and away we came.”
“We’ve been here now for nine years,” says Forrest. “We opened Ruby Clippers in February 2004. We have never lived big,” he explains, before noting that, “of course, that is now the new normal, if you understand what I am saying,” and then flashes another big smile.
The pair says they take part in the life of the community, both in the Gayborhood and beyond. In addition to supporting the Pet Project, “We try to patronize those LGBT-owned businesses,” says Hyatt. “Not just because we are gay, but because we really love supporting our community.”
On the business side, both Hyatt and Forrest recognize that they are in a tight economy and a competitive market. It keeps them sharp. “We really do work on customer service for our clients, and we really do care about the animals and their comfort,” Forrest explains. “I don’t even like caging the animals, which is one reason that our work area is gated. There are times that you do need to cage an animal, but I just don’t like to do it.”
Hyatt notes that “some dogs know how to work you and they will.”
“Our motto is ‘Tender, Loving Care,’ and we mean that,” says Forrest. “We don’t even use hot air dryers, and we believe in having state-of-the-art equipment. Our shop is always clean, and our customers can see their pet being groomed if they want to stay.” He notes that “so many of our clients have become real friends with us, and they trust us.”
“We open at 8 a.m., and we are here until the last dog is picked up,” Forrest says, adding with that big, hearty laugh, “that may be at 3 o’clock, or it may be happy hour.”
If your pooch is in need of a trim, shampoo, or other grooming service, call the boys at Ruby Clippers at 954-564-2770, and visit them at 880 E Oakland Park Blvd., Oakland Park.