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RVA Entrepreneur Spotlight: “Santa” Bob Saintsing

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. His name is Santa Bob Saintsing and he’s the official Santa for the City of Richmond.

Santa Bob Saintsing and Tricia Dunlap
He’s real!  Tricia meets Santa Bob Saintsing of A Santa for Hire.

From the Tobacco Company to the 17th Street Market, Santa Bob Saintsing is making his rounds. But last year, things weren’t so cheery when grinchy competitors threatened his business, A Santa for Hire, with a trademark law dispute. Bob turned to Dunlap Law for help, and Tricia Dunlap gladly took the reins.

We caught up with Santa Bob and asked for some professional advice on celebrating the season.

What inspired you to become A Santa for Hire?

I’ve had my beard for over forty years, but never imaged I’d become a Santa. Then one day, the eyes of a young child caught my own while sitting in a restaurant in downtown Richmond. The encounter was truly something out of a cable-channel movie. This little man, gripping his mother’s hand, approached and asked if I was Santa. Looking into his innocent eyes, I knew he was serious. I slowly leaned over, touched my nose, and asked him to keep it a secret that he’d met Santa.

I can’t describe how happy I was on that day. But now, I get to experience that joy all the time.

What does it take to be a professional Santa?

As I investigated it as a business, I realized it was a viable way to make money in retirement doing something I enjoyed. So, I went off to Santa school where they teach you to walk into a room and embody the spirit of Santa Claus. But the most valuable lesson was how to give appropriate answers to childrens’ questions.

That’s my favorite part of playing Santa, talking with the children. After sitting with me, they’ll go back to the end of the line, wait 10 or 15 minutes, and we’ll pick up the conversation where we left off. They’ll share jokes, talk about their day, and of course tell me whether they’ve been “good or bad.” I’ve talked to some children three times in the same day.

Is it true that even Santa needs a good business lawyer?

Last year, a company on the west coast took issue with my website domain, asantaforhire.com. They considered it a trademark law infringement. I reached out to a friend. He said “I know exactly who you should talk to,” and gave me Tricia’s name. She saw the situation for what it was — a hollow threat – and took care of it for me.

How can each of us bring a little more joy to the holiday season?

Guess what? You’re a Santa too! Your time and attention can totally change someone’s day. Santa is the spirit of giving. Simply believe that you can make a difference.

Happy Holidays from the Dunlap Law Team!


To book Santa Bob Saintsing for your company party or family event, visit his website asantaforhire.com.

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