Allure Hair & Beauty Salon and Steve's Barbers Shop at Old Church Street, Cahir
As Ireland took a significant if somewhat tentative step nearer to a full reopening of the economy on Monday last, for one Cahir couple, Stephen and Arlene Maguire, the satisfaction with returning to business was doubled. The husband and wife team were delighted to be back at the cutting edge, literally, with Steve’s Barbers and Allure Hair & Beauty, both in the same premises but separate entities at Old Church Street, Cahir.
It has been a long road throughout 2020 and into 2021 for all personal services businesses including hairdressing as Arlene pointed out in welcoming the return to work.
“The duration of our closure since March 12 last year to May 10 has been approximately 42 weeks. It is a long time to have both incomes cut from the same household. So it is great to get back to business, back to chatting with clients and seeing friendly faces once again. We’ve all missed that,” she said.
Barber Steven Maguire outside the family business premises at Old Church Street in Cahir.
According to Steven, a Cahir native, who has been in the business since August 2004, a lot of preparation and expense has gone into getting ready for this return. The premises have been very tastefully renovated in recent weeks with work ongoing right throughout last weekend in order to have everything in tip-top shape.
While those renovations are a welcome long-term investment in their enterprise and a vote of confidence in the business life of Cahir, there are also big day-to-day expenses involved with reopening.
“In implementing strict safety measures we have a lot more waste and you cannot recycle any of it. That’s an added cost. We’ve had to get screens up. We now use disposable capes and disposable towels. Everything has to be continually disinfected, from scissors to frequently- touched surfaces and everything in between. But we have no choice. Everything is done to ensure the safety of our staff and customers. We feel it is a lot more controlled now because it is all by appointment. No one can come in without a mask and we allow time for a complete change after every customer before another can sit down. We will allow 15 minutes for each cut and five minutes for cleaning,” he explained.
The fabulous and impressive interior, newly renovated, at Steven Maguire barbers shop at Old Church Street, Cahir, which opened again on Monday last after the lockdown.
And how long for the ladies hair treatment?
“You could be here for anything from 30 minutes for a wash and blowdry or three days for a full overhaul,” smiled Arlene.As much as Steven and Arlene are looking forward to seeing some friendly faces coming through the door again, you get the impression that many customers will be just as pleased to see them.
Jokingly, Steve said: “I have images sent to me by clients of their DIY haircuts and asking for advice on how to fix them, or people after putting this colour in and it looks nothing like on the box, what can I do now? They’ll be happy to get back for a professional haircut for sure.
“You get to know your customers. I have customers coming to me for 18/19 years now and I am looking forward to seeing them all again. They are all different, some customers won’t say too much because that is their time to chill. Then you have customers that don’t want to go out the door. They’re all different,” he added.
But the ladies are perhaps more conservative with their DIY hair treatments.
“I think everyone underestimated how important hair care really was. In Germany they were allowed to open on a human rights level because they believe you need to be self groomed. But thankfully a lot of ladies actually didn’t touch their hair during lockdown. There were no massive disasters,” added Arlene.For ladies hairdressers the making of an appointment by phone has always been the practice, but going forward now, at least for the foreseeable future, Steve’s Barbers will be taking appointments also, an extra layer of safety precaution while Covid-19 is still about.
“We were always a walk-in business but now we have an app called Booksy and customers can book in online. You get to pick your day, time and barber and that’s it, it is very convenient,” explained Steven.
Hopefully this time round the reopening of business is permanent and that we have seen the last of lockdowns for the hairdressing industry.
“The closure has been difficult for us all. This time we want to stay open for good. We want to get back to normality and we don’t want to have to close again,” concluded Steven.
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