Salons, barbershops return at a fast clip

By , Special to the Daily Memphian Updated: May 07, 2020 4:00 AM CT | Published: May 07, 2020 4:00 AM CT

On Wednesday, local hair salons and barbershops joined the wave of businesses reopening this week, and many enjoyed strong traffic.

Places like Great Clips and Custom Cuts in the Stage Centre at 6600 Stage Road in Bartlett had customers waiting outside, with staff at both too busy or unable to comment for this story.

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The Stage Road Barber Shop at 6743 Stage Road was back open early Wednesday morning after closing down in March for the first time ever in its 50-plus-year history. The doors opened at 8 a.m., and the shop had a very busy day, with customers waiting outside on the sidewalk and in their cars for haircuts.

“I knew we were going to be busy,” said retired shop owner Larry Jenkins, who came out Wednesday to help out. He sat outside in a mask taking names and phone numbers for their waiting list.

“We’re doing everything that we’re required to do, wearing masks and gloves,” Jenkins said.

The shop would normally have six barbers working, but due to distancing requirements, it is limited to just four right now.

“So, we have about eight people inside at a time, and they’re about eight feet apart.”

The shop is also not doing shaves right now.

New Arlington salon owner Nicole Diffee feels things went really well on Wednesday for the Walker Street Salon’s reopening.

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“We’re all glad to be able to come back and make money for our families,” Diffee said. “We were all eager to get back behind the chairs. I was a little bit nervous coming in just because I’ve been off for eight weeks and I had some anxiety because of our new stipulations, but everything went smoothly.”

She and her husband bought the business on March 12 from her mother, DeeDee Sulcer, who started the salon eight years ago. The following week they were forced to shut down.

During the shutdown, the Diffees ended up not qualifying for much small business stimulus assistance because they bought the business too late and they have a booth-rent salon, which translates to fewer full-time employees. Diffee also had trouble with unemployment, so the reopening could not have come soon enough.

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“It was frustrating, but we made the best of it. We just tried to have positive attitudes. I totally understand doing our part and flattening the curve,” Diffee said. “We’re just happy to get back in here and begin to try to resume a normal life.”

Because they are limited to only 10 people in the building at one time, she had to adjust her stylists’ previous schedules. Before the pandemic, they were closed three days per week but now will be open every day to help give all of the stylists adequate hours.

The Alma Bella Salon at 2981 Canada Road in Lakeland also opened back up on Wednesday, but only one of their seven stylists felt comfortable enough to come in to work, which resulted in a slower day. Many stylists there have said they will come back this weekend or next week.

“I guess some people are still reluctant to come back to work,” said assistant/shampoo tech Biggi Bowers. “We’re definitely happy to be back open and are ready to make some money.”

The staff there are wearing masks and gloves and practice social distancing, and to keep numbers down guests are asked to not bring any friends along and to wait in their cars until they receive a text to come inside for their haircut. 

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barbershop hair salons coronavirus Reopen

Michael Waddell

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian with more than 20 years of professional writing and editorial experience, working most recently with The Daily News and High Ground News.


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