On The Cover: White Bear Mitsubishi
White Bear Mitsubishi’s Richard Herod III and His Bear-y Good Friend Wish You A Happy Pride! Photo by Mike Hnida
Although White Bear Mitsubishi general manager Richard Herod III expressed excitement at his business being the sponsor and cover star of Lavender‘s 2020 Pride Edition, he noted a twinge of sadness regarding the pall cast over Pride season by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it’s sort of bittersweet for this year’s Pride, given that all of the Pride festivities will need to be more virtual this year and more contained,” said Herod. “It’s good that it’s going to be part of an annual celebration that helps us recognize the community, our diversity, our place in the community, our place in society. Obviously, it’s just a little sad that we won’t be celebrating the way that we normally are.”
Nonetheless, Herod—who was one of the honorees of Lavender‘s 2019 Community Awards—was enthusiastic about celebrating Pride all day, every day, including with his fiancé Charles.
“Pride needs to be something that happens every day,” he said. “In my backyard, all of my deck chairs are rainbow chairs. I live my personal life out and proud. I don’t hide who I am.”
White Bear Mitsubishi is joining in on the Pride celebrations as well, such as creating fun bear masks to donate, as well as trying to see how they can take part in this year’s virtual Pride Parade.
“We’re not taking a backseat to being visible,” said Herod. “[It] just means that we have to do it in a different way.”
All the while, Herod said that White Bear Mitsubishi is doing its due diligence to keep employees and customers safe during this pandemic.
“Luckily, we’ve been able to remain open as an essential business, providing vehicle care for those people that are required to go to work, or had to go to work during the last two months of the shelter-in-place orders that were that we have here,” he said. “We are making sure that we maintain social distancing rules. In addition to that, every hour on the hour, we are cleaning all services with disinfectant: when customers bring their cars in for service, for putting the keys in Ziploc bags so our employees don’t come into contact with customer keys.”
White Bear is also properly disinfecting steering wheels and other vehicle touch points when a customer wants to take a test drive.
“If a customer wants to get an oil change or brakes or tires on any make or model vehicle, we offer free pick up and delivery and we leave a complimentary motor vehicle with a customer during that time,” said Herod. “So really it’s sort of an evolution of our business, because a lot of businesses are doing curbside delivery. Now we’re just doing deliveries directly to people’s homes for personal vehicle service.”
Herod encourages readers to continue doing what they can to stay healthy and keep others safe while celebrating Pride in their own way this year.
“Obviously, there [are] a lot of conflicting messages out there regarding what people should or shouldn’t do in terms of interacting with others and social distancing,” he said. “I would also feel it’s important at this time that we don’t get divided, because even though we are apart, there are people who need to go to work. There are people that need to travel. There are people who need to see their family. There are also people that need to stay home, that people who need to maintain their distance from other people.”
“We have allies that have compromised immune systems,” Herod continued. “We have allies that don’t have compromised immune systems. We have people that need to provide for their families. And everyone is making decisions for themselves. And we need to try to do our best to stay [safe] together.”