Dichotomy of two businesses

Consider it two ends of the spectrum as COVID-19 effects the way people do businesses and interact — or do not. With the pandemic reaching new levels, many businesses have restricted their hours or closed altogether, while some entities continue with business as usual.

Chad Zingales is in that category, as the owner of Zinger’s, a comedy and music club at the Col. Shepherd House, 29 Mont Vernon St., Milford, and also the director of operations at Amherst Country Club, 72 Ponemah Rd., Zingales said while Zinger’s, with its intimate setting, has had to cancel shows, golfers are taking advantage of open fairways and clean air to get in a few rounds of golf at ACC.

“It’s kind of interesting case study” he said. “Because they’re a little bit in the opposite category at least as I can tell thus far.”

Zinger’s was forced to postpone events this past weekend but Zingales said he’s reschedule or is planning to reschedule these events for later in the year.

“With Zinger’s, you it’s close quarters,” he said. “And we can seat about 70+ people. And we had sold a lot of tickets to Friday’s show, with a band called ‘Town Meeting,’ and it wasn’t an easy decision to make. They had already had a couple of venues cancel their weekend gigs — we were following suit I guess.”

Zingales said it was difficult for that band because they were planning a CD release party and had pre-sold some tickets. By his estimate, there was going to be a full house. The plan is to have them back because the band is a big attraction and has a hearty following. And this past Saturday, the venue was to present Gabe Stillman, a touring musician, who had several gigs himself that were cancelled due to the pandemic. Stillman will return in November for a show.

“The weekend was a wash for us,” said Zingales. “But on the flip side, with golf, the Amherst Country Club was packed. We had all sorts of people playing indoors on the golf simulators and outside on the course, pulling their carts, getting some exercise.”

Zingales said people were maintaining “social distances,” but were excited to be outside.

“It’s interesting because it has that whole outdoor element,” he said. “And we’ve been reading plenty. I’ve got a couple of meetings coming up with the staff and we’re going to send out an email blast notifying people of some of the changes. We’re obviously taking the necessary precautions to keep the facility clean and sanitized. But on the outside, the weather has been beautiful. People have that cabin fever as we end the season.”

The whole element of shaking hands at the end of the round has gone away, making room for fist-bumps or waves. Zingales said while that’s adjusted a bit everything else “stays the same.”

At Zinger’s, Zingales has come up with an idea to stream live music and comedy for folks who still want to be entertained, even if that means staying home.

“We’re going to start with comedy,” he said. “We’re going to make it a live show, that doesn’t necessarily have a big audience but it’s something that people can subscribe to a channel on the web. There’s a bunch of different streaming sites and the one we’re leaning towards is Patreon. It’s for artists and musicians who want to gain awareness and support and people can subscribe by paying a monthly fee, which is small, or people can make a donation.”

Patreon also allows subscribers to view archived footage or watch events live.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Zingales. “With kids being home from school, there’s a certain amount of boredom that’s going to come, not having that interaction so we’re already taking some steps that will at least allow us to offer something.”

If Zinger’s does have live shows with an audience, that number will be kept low with a limited food menu. There are already a number of acts scheduled, while some are booking, others are cancelling.

“We totally understand,” said Zingales. “Our hope is that when we get through this, people will want to go back out, collaborating and communicating and socializing with one another. We just have to get over this hump here. We obviously have to take the necessary precautions and keep everybody safe and healthy. That goes not just from a business standpoint but also a socioeconomical standpoint. This is what you go through.”