Barbershops and salons among struggling businesses during shutdown

Mar 19, 2020, 4:51 PM
Valiant Barber & Supply in Seattle has been forced to shut down until at least April 1 due to the coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of KTTH/Jason Rantz)
(Photo courtesy of KTTH/Jason Rantz)

The recent statewide ban that has closed restaurants, bars, theaters, and many other businesses is hitting one industry particularly hard: barbershops and hair salons.

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Unable to alter their business model and offer takeout, as restaurants can do during this closure, businesses like Valiant Barber & Supply in Seattle were suddenly forced to close their doors until April 1.

Owner Collin Anthony told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show that he was surprised barbershops were included in the ban.

“I didn’t actually anticipate [a closure] at all, considering in order to obtain a license in Washington state, you have to go over sanitation and the spread of disease, that’s actually one of the biggest parts of doing hair,” Anthony said. “They actually care about that in school more, almost more, than if you could actually do hair.”

Due to these requirements, Anthony said his shop already had cleaning practices in place.

“So we took it to another level,” he said. “Everything was like all sorts of chemicals, trying to get everything clean, wearing gloves, making sure to change between every single client, just trying to make sure everything was clean and sanitary.”

Unfortunately, this industry is unique in that it’s not covered in the same way as, for example, Starbucks or Amazon employees might be.

“In our shop, it’s a booth rental, so all the people that work there are independent contractors,” Anthony said.

That means if they’re not cutting hair, they’re not making money. If they’re not making money, they can’t pay rent, which then trickles down to Anthony, who pays rent on the building and the space.

In the meantime, Anthony and Valiant are doing the best they can.

“[We’re] trying to sell shirts and stuff online, and we did apply for some of the grants,” he said. ” … We try to get clients to maybe buy gift cards and their friends buy gift cards, or anything in that kind of nature.”

To support Valiant Barber & Supply, visit their website.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Barbershops and salons among struggling businesses during shutdown