Closed for April, local businesses planning to reopen Monday

    Stay-at-home orders on both the state and local levels, which included the shuttering of many “non-essential” businesses have led to business disruptions throughout Missouri. Many local businesses, including 3rd Generation Salon and Crawford County Eyecare, are hoping to greet customers once again on Monday after being closed for more than a month.

    When the businesses reopen, however, it will be under continuing safety guidelines. That means customers can expect a new experience, whether they are getting a much-needed haircut or their eyes examined.
    “Two weeks before shutting down we were open seven days a week,” said 3rd Generation Salon owner Jackie Brown. “We were working one client in and one client out without a full staff in the salon at the same time. My salon is set up with plenty of space between chairs.”
    The salon closed on March 31.
    “I had sanitizer wipes at the counter and at the door for clients to use. We wiped down all surfaces clients came into contact with as they left. Lysol always was in all bathrooms,” said Brown. “Since then, I have taken a Barbicide course and learned more on how to sanitize. I wish I’d had taken this before and plan to keep Barbicide mixed in spray bottles so it is handy. I feel it is a better way to sanitize.”
    As the owner, Brown is the only official employee at 3rd Generation. The rest of the staff members are self-employed and rent space from Brown. As the only person on the payroll, and being self-employed, Brown was not originally eligible for state unemployment, but did get some federal unemployment coverage for two weeks before securing a Payroll Protection Plan loan. Brown estimates she lost about 80 percent of her revenue in April.
    “I created ways to cover salon overhead and to generate some income for my girls until they were able to collect unemployment,” said Brown. “We sold color bowls for clients. This kept them from purchasing (discount store) color. It was a way for them to support their stylist and color their hairline and part.”
    Brown said 3rd Generation’s clients have been wonderful, with many paying for appointments they missed and others purchasing gift cards.
    “Generally, gift card money is disbursed as the client comes in and redeems the card,” Brown said, “but due to the situation, I paid my stylists gift card money as they were purchased.”
    While shut down, clients also purchased salon products that Brown set out for them at a mailbox.
    “I also went online and found a T-shirt company and posted pictures on Facebook for clients to pick from,” said Brown. “The first round of sales I sold 93 T-shirts. When the shirts came in I sorted them out then I would set them out in a basket for clients to pick up at designated times. In the basket was sanitizing wipes. They would then leave the money in the basket. The second round of T-shirt sales I sold 50 more shirts. I never thought I’d sell that many.”
    One of Brown’s suppliers offered her hand sanitizer to sell. It was from the U Care Foundation and supported stylists going through hard times
    “This was a win-win,” said Brown. “The sales were thru the roof!”
    Brown said she wants her clients to know she and her staff are very appreciative of their support, not just to each stylist, but also of the salon itself.
    “I’d never been able to cover my overhead without them. I am beyond words, blessed,” she said. “As far as reopening procedures, we plan to abide by the law and do as the governor tells us to do. We will continue to sanitize after each client. One in, one out per customer. I encourage elderly or high-risk clients to wait a few weeks. I personally do not think Crawford County has peaked. I look for that to happen in the next week or two.”
    Dr. William Lynch, of Crawford County Eye Care, said his office plans to reopen on May 4 with appointments spread out to allow for social distancing.
    “We ask that all patients wear a mask if they have one and enter the office only if they are well,” Lynch said. “We'll have fewer waiting room chairs for spacing purposes, so we ask only the patient come into the office unless they are a minor or need help in any way.”
    Crawford County Eye Care will be providing sanitizing measures to keep the office safe. Glasses and contact lens pickup will be by appointment only.
    “Things are bound to change over time, so we ask clients to be patient as we deal with a new way of doing business,” Lynch said.

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