Images Hair Salon reopens in unique ‘fashion’
In the wake of over 60 days of being closed due to the Safer at Home order, Images Hair & Spa officially reopened on Tuesday May, 26.
The initial order issued on March 20 by the state department of health services (DHS) allowed barbershops and salons to open as of May, 26, Images owner Sandy Gipple chose to take full advantage of the order’s expiration; opening as of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning, versus her normal 10 a.m. opening.
“My original plan was to open for regular business hours on Tuesday,” she explains. “The May 26th date also worked better for my co-workers, who still had kids in school until May 22nd.”
But after speaking with customers about the salon’s re-opening, what began as a joke led to the much earlier opening.
“I happened to be talking with a customer about when I would open again. When I said I would be opening Tuesday, she said ‘Ok, I’ll be there at 12:01 then’. After some thought, I decided to take her up on the offer!” Gipple adds with a laugh.
The effort certainly paid off for Sandy, as the salon remained quite busy from 12:01 a.m Tuesday morning, through 10 p.m Tuesday night.
“I was very surprised! I had no idea I would be kept so busy so early in the morning, much less lasting through the daytime Tuesday.” she adds.
In all, 24 customers passed through Gipple’s doors during the 22 hour time-frame; for personal care services ranging from haircuts to foils.
“Someone actually knocked on my window around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning and asked if I had any openings. I had to tell them no, that’s literally how busy I was! I was booked solid.”
While the 8-week break during the mandatory closure was welcomed to some extent, Gipple readily admits; it certainly didn’t come without a price.
“In my 38 years of providing hair care and salon services, I have never had eight weeks straight of being off-work. The positive side was the mental relaxation, I really enjoyed that part of it. But on the flip side, I had no money coming in,” she explains.
“I had to be very careful with my spending. When I did spend, it was only for bare necessities. The shutdown left me with no choice but to wait it out, I wasn’t able to offer any services. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t; due to our supply chain being shut down. For a little while, we were able to offer curbside service and sell what products we did have in stock, but once we sold out, we just had to wait it out.
“I am very grateful to the City of Merrill’s assistance as I received a $1,500 grant (Small Business Emergency Relief Fund) which I was able to use to pay bills such as my mortgage and water bill. Being self-employed, I wasn’t eligible for anything like unemployment or state grants. I applied for assistance under the federal CARES Act, but I have yet to receive a response.
“This experience really makes a person realize and appreciate what they may have taken for granted before. It has also changed the way I do things, rather than a handshake, now we give “air hugs,” Sandy jokes.
Sandy can be reached at Images Hair, 1005 E. Main Street, during regular business hours of 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m Saturdays (715) 536-1345