Salon Suites are once again considered to be “saving the day” in Bergen County, NJ where previously booth renting in a salon was restricted. With the new Covid-19 pandemic guidelines for salons, occupancy restrictions and overall feeling of safety, the salon suite concept couldn’t be launching in Bergen County NJ at a better time. Check out this article below from New Jersey Business Journal reviewing the current struggles large multi-chair salons are facing throughout NJ. The Bedrin Organization’s own Garret Bedrin introduces the salon suite concept to Bergen County in the last paragraph.
Trimming Profits: How hair salons are coping with capacity restrictions
By: Daniel J. Munoz October 26, 2020 12:01 am
With New Jersey in the midst of a second wave of COVID-19, now might seem like an odd time to loosen restrictions on businesses. Gov. Phil Murphy seemed to acknowledge the paradox as he walked back comments he made earlier in the month suggesting that he might loosen the rules for indoor dining. But Christine Modica, who heads the New Jersey Salon and Spa Alliance, said the rules put in place for hair salons and other so-called “personal care businesses” have been suffocating at times.
“Our businesses, which have already lost months of income due to state-ordered closures earlier in the pandemic, have demonstrated we can reopen safely, but state rules that continue to restrict the number of clients that can be inside at one time are making it dicult to survive,” Modica, who owns Stag House, a Glen Rock-based hair salon, said in an email.
She said operating at 25% capacity is particularly dicult, as is the required 6-foot physical distancing. And with establishments typically measuring in at 5,000 square feet, most salons can only use about 40% of their space.
“The 25% not only hinders our ability” to break even, Modica said, “It’s adding a little bit of fear to the public” who may be wary about entering an establishment if it’s at such a low capacity.
“We’ve been open 120 days. I have 16 employees, we’ve seen over 2,000 guests and nothing has come back to us at all,” she added.
New Jersey hair salons and barbershops were closed between March and June, leading to New Jerseyans questioning when they could once again get a haircut.
Lauren Curley, owner of Legacy Hair Salon in Cranford, said her business saw a rush of customers once restrictions were lifted in mid-June. “It was like Christmas time, it was like the holiday season, which was great because everyone came in,” she said. “It kind of teetered off a little and now people are getting used to their new routine.” That means going without a haircut just a couple weeks longer; an appointment every six weeks, rather than every four weeks as would have been the case before the pandemic.
Curley questioned the logic of allowing indoor dining, where masks are not required when patrons are eating and drinking. “We as salons with our masks on and all the regulations, our capacity should be higher,” she said.
She’s been pulling through at her business, but the operation is small: four chairs and four stylists “so we don’t have a big square-footage.”
“Is it crushing us? No,” Curley said. But “everyone has taken a pay cut because of this. Everyone is making 50% of what they could be because we can’t double-book.”
Salons by JC personalize each appointment and give customers individual attention. – GARRET BEDRIN, SALONS BY JC
Hair salon employees work on commission, Modica said; roughly half the payment for a service goes to the establishment and the other to that staff member performing it.
“Where you could double-book and have 10 or 12 people a day, they could only do five or six,” Curley said. Before the pandemic, while one person has hair color or processing, “you’re able to do a haircut or apply another color while that first one is processing.”
State regulations rolled out ahead of the June reopening dates for salons prohibit that practice. Stylists, barbers and other hair salon workers can only work on a single person at a time. And in between services, they have to thoroughly wipe down and sanitize the station.
Dayna Ze, owner of Handsome Heads Barbershop in Bloomeld, said she was satisfied with how business has gone since reopening. “We’re following all the state- mandated regulations – mask-wearing, face shields, cleaning and sanitizing after each client,” she said. “We actually had to switch to appointment-only. Prior to this we were a walk-in only shop. That I think was our biggest change with the reopening.”
Another big change she noticed: men’s beard-fashion is falling out of vogue. “They’re all saying that the masks are causing creases,” meaning “more time to take care of their beards,” she said.
Each JC Salon concept stores is social distance ready. This is the interior of the Wyckoff location. – GIBRANNA LACAVA
Other restrictions include screening for staff and guests, such as temperature checks
and symptom screenings, and forms for guests to ll out to conduct contact-tracing in case anyone with COVID-19 sets foot into the establishment.
Ze and Curley both said they put up barriers at their establishments to separate chairs: plexi-glass at Ze’s business and plastic barriers at Curley’s place.
Patti Kilkenny, who rents out an individual suite at the Phenix Salon Suite in Clark, said her clientele was halved from between 10 and 12 a week, down to six at most. Her expenses have soared on personal protective equipment like gloves and masks, ultraviolet lights to disinfect equipment, air purifiers and hand sanitizer.
“On the good side, every one of my clients has returned, plus I’ve received new clients, all mostly due to the fact that working in a suite during a pandemic is guaranteed a secure social distancing space,” she said in an email. “Every client feels comfortable knowing we are contained in a clean, sanitized, safe suite, all by ourselves.”
“When the governor announced our reopening date my phone went crazy. Within two days, I was three weeks booked out,” she added.
Elsewhere in North Jersey, Garret Bedrin said he plans to open a similar suite concept in Bergen County, known as Salon by JC, with a rst such location opening in Wyckoff at the end of October and another in Paramus this April. There are dozens of Salons by JC locations across the nation, and Bedrin owns 20 centers and six salons.
“We have a concierge who is there to greet everybody and be a property manager and walk you to the room that you’re going to, and that room is exclusively used for one person who uses their own salon,” he said.
The Wyckoff space is roughly 4,600 square feet with 22 individual rooms, while the Paramus location is over 6,700 square feet with 32 rooms, each between 100 and 200 square feet.
“It’s got four walls, a ceiling… electric, plumbing… and we rent them to successful, credentialed beauty professionals who have had their certificates for three years,” he said.
Daniel J. Munoz
Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.