At the end of February, I started thinking about getting my hair cut and colored. It had been a while since my last visit as I tend to space them out for financial reasons. I hadn’t yet picked up the phone to make an appointment, and then a few weeks later, COVID-19 started to change the world in a very significant and personal way. Businesses were closing, our gym closed, the hair and nail salons closed, everyone was asked to shelter-in-place, and only essential businesses were allowed to remain open. I asked myself, why didn’t I make that appointment sooner? I could have easily just gone in and spent the money. But, like many others, I wanted to make my dollars stretch as far as possible.
The world watched and waited to see what would happen next. The number of COVID-19 cases grew at alarming rates across the world. What we didn’t expect was the number of those who would die tragically because of this horrible virus. The world was plunged into a panic and situational depression of sorts. Everyone was sequestered in their homes and very few ventured out except to get food and other essentials. This lasted for several months.
Finally, May arrived. Some cities and states were ready to begin the process of reopening. My state, Ohio, gave permission and guidance for hair salons to open on May 15, 2020. I couldn’t contain my excitement! Yes, I realize it’s just my hair, but that’s important to me. Some would say “first world problems”. Either way, I was a happy camper.
My appointment was set for May 20, 2020. I was given specific instructions over the telephone to call when I got to the parking lot and let them know I had arrived. I did just that. I was told that my stylist, Jack Brooks, was ready for me. He and his wife Vonda have owned The One Hair Salon, in Lebanon, Ohio for close to 50 years.
I entered the beautiful 1850’s historic building with excitement and curiosity to see how things would be handled inside. I was asked to take a seat. No one else was in the waiting area. The front desk had plexiglass across its counter, with small openings to exchange payment and other information. The employees all wore masks. It was optional for the guests to wear masks, based on their level of comfort. Some did and others did not. If anyone had been ill, they would have been asked to reschedule. If a stylist’s station was not at least six feet apart from other work stations, beautifully black-framed plexiglass hung from the ceiling to ensure everyone’s safety. There was plexiglass between every shampoo and dryer/processing chair. Hand sanitizer was available whenever anyone needed it, including in the restroom.
Stylist – Jack Brooks
While Jack worked on my hair, I asked him to tell me how COVID-19 had impacted his business, employees, and independent contractor stylists. He told me that when the salon had been ordered to close in March, he furloughed his staff so they would be eligible to receive unemployment insurance. Once reopened, almost all of his staff returned, except a few who had other reasons for not returning, completely unrelated to COVID-19.
The One Hair Salon already had exceptional sanitation processes in place. They simply added some new processes to their procedures and brought in a contractor to install the necessary plexiglass to maintain social distancing. I’m not sure who designed the esthetic for the hanging black-framed plexiglass, but I actually think it added sophistication and flair to the already beautifully designed salon. They get an A++ for finding a way to make something practical look like it was part of the intended design.
Honestly, my hair cut and color didn’t feel different than any other time I had received it there before. The additional sanitizing, distancing and overall safety precautions were handled with ease and didn’t disrupt the high-end salon experience I had come to expect at The One Hair Salon.
I asked Jack if he had considered what might happen to his business during the pandemic. He didn’t hesitate to say that his business would survive because they had always taken care to have stringent sanitization procedures. He wasn’t sure how some of the other salons would come out of the crisis due to not having deep roots in the community or the financial wherewithal to sustain such a long closure. His salon has been in the city of Lebanon for such a long time, and its’ highly respected reputation and services have overcome recessions in the past. Only time will tell if other local salons would find a way through this situation. He only wished the best for them.
Overall, not only was I thrilled to finally get my hair done, but I was completely satisfied and felt safe doing so. I can’t think of anything they could have done differently. I felt pampered and cared for. I walked out of The One Hair Salon feeling beautiful and ready to conquer the new world we are all living in, whatever that looks like going forward.