OTTUMWA — Like many business owners some local areas are taking the steps to reopen.
Brooke Lee, owner of Bombshell Studio, pondered the decision to reopen with her staff. Lee and Moon Locks Salon Owner Nikole Garland, like other businesses in town, were ready to reopen to allow revenue to come back.
“It’s something we talked immensely about — to be on the front lines,” Lee said. “We had a staff meeting and thought this through. We looked at the Iowa Department of Public Health and knew we were going to have to follow those protocols and implement those policies. We put a safety plan in place and ready to get revenue flowing.”
“It’s strange having someone tell us we can’t work,” Garland said. “It’s time we’re allowed to reopen because we need to make our incomes. I do wish there was more actual support for small businesses. Some haven’t gotten assistance. They’ve been applying for grants and some haven’t had luck. Hopefully there will be more ways to help them.”
Garland has her own set of precautions. She only allows four people in at a time: two stylists and two clients. Garland and her staff deep clean the studio, require customers and staff to wear masks, and ask they only bring in essentials with them like a purse and car keys. She also requires customers make appointments before coming in and wait in their vehicles until other clients walk out.
“We are doing a soft reopening to get adjusted to everyone being here,” Garland said. “We are having two stylists and allowing four people in at a time,” Garland said. “We will do this until June 1. We won’t allow them to bring in guests and they’ll have to wait in their cars.”
Lee will also require staff and her clients to wear masks. She won’t allow group appointments and implemented a 15 minute gap between customers, which allows enough time to clean up the workspace before allowing more customers in. The staff sanitizes hair dryers and stations. Lee allows six people in at a time and asks clients to bring in their phone, payment and car keys.
“The cleaning and sanitization is playing a huge role,” Lee said. “We have all the training. We are glad we can help the community now. It got through it and found some resources to make sure we could reopen the salon. Prior to the reopen, I came up with a checklist. I focused on cleanliness and decided to limit clientele, too.”
“We’re also asking them a simple questionnaire — such as if they’ve traveled outside of the state,” Lee added, “if they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, questions doctors would ask. We’re not taking temperatures though, we haven’t gotten that far.”
As Bombshell Studio and Moon Locks Salon adjust to the protocols, they’re confident about how their businesses will look a few months from now.
“As for the future, I see tremendous growth,” Lee said. “I’m hoping to go forward and have a comfortable and warm atmosphere for all. I see nothing but growth and see a lot of busy schedules. We have the best intentions and do everything we can to protect our clients. They’ve all been supportive and we hope to see growth. In conclusion I want what’s best for my clients. I want them to feel loved and safe and continue to be personable with them.”
“We’re doing everything we can to keep everyone safe,” Garland said. “We’re requiring customers to wear masks. This is what we feel comfortable with. I’ve been doing hair for a long time. We feel lucky and safe and confident in reopening. I’m ready to get back to a welcoming and warm environment and so are they.”