Bandago, the passenger van rental company that specializes in rentals to touring music groups in 15 U.S. markets, is in dire financial straits due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We service the music industry, so the collapse of our business is approaching 100%,” said Sharky Laguana, Bandago’s president and founder. “The situation is highly fluid, and it’s very difficult to tell from one hour to the next what’s going to happen.”
Yet Laguana, who also serves as the president of San Francisco’s Small Business Commission, isn’t letting 600 vans sit idle.
Laguana is working with the city of San Francisco and other local governments to offer his converted passenger the vans to transport homeless persons to shelters in addition to other transportation services as needed.
Bandago has agreed to supply vehicles to the Lyndhurst Police Department and it just fulfilled its first transfer of materials for the San Francisco Emergency Operations Center.
With concert tours, family vacations, and corporate travel grinding to a halt, Laguana’s business is suffering. However, the altruistic direction has given his staff a new sense of purpose.
“Our staff can see the writing on the wall,” said Laguana. “We all know there’s no sustainable business if there are no customers. They have been depressed and worried, first about their community, and then about their jobs. When I told them we were going to join the fight, and not take this lying down, the morale instantly improved. There’s no way I’m letting this f***ing virus win.”
Laguana encourages community members and business associates to jump in and help in any way they can. “We will get through this, and we will do it together,” he said.