Need A Trim? Personal Grooming Businesses Ready For Customers

May 25, 2020

Stylist Mike Wood trims the hair of Vina Vinluan on Saturday at Salon2eleven in Carrboro, NC. Amidst COVID-19, Salon2eleven is offering customers the option of hair styling services indoors or outdoors. As the state of North Carolina transitions from the Stay At Home order to Phase 2 of easing COVID-19 restrictions, people around the Triangle enjoy reopened restaurants and salons.
Credit Kate Medley / For WUNC

A lot of people across North Carolina were out and about over the Memorial Day weekend as more state restrictions on where you can go and what you can do have been lifted. And while restaurants are filling up again – to 50% capacity anyway – personal grooming also seems to top people's to-do list.

When Gov. Roy Cooper announced last week that North Carolina would be entering Phase 2 of the state's re-opening since most were forced to stay at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of small business owners cheered.

Rachel Zhuang owns Style Brows Threading Studio, a facial threading salon in Chapel Hill. She's been in business almost 10 years.

"Oh my God, I'm so happy! I was also happy to see my customers," said Zhuang. "My customers are like my friends, I miss them!"

Rachel Zhuang reopens the doors of Style Brows on Saturday morning at University Mall in Chapel Hill, NC. Zhuang has eliminated the waiting area and is taking fewer appointments as a precautionary measure amidst COVID-19. She wears a face shield while working with customers and cleans the chair in between each appointment.
Credit Kate Medley / For WUNC

Zhuang's job puts her up close and personal in her customers faces. When her shop re-opened Saturday, she wore a face mask and a plastic shield to block germs. There was no waiting room, customers were encouraged to make appointments. And they had to wear masks as well. So, there was no threading hairy upper lips and chins.

For now, Zhuang is only threading what she can see, eyebrows.

"Actually when you wear a mask, the eyebrows are really important, to show everybody," Zhuang said with a smile.

The owners of Linda's Bar and Grill in Chapel Hill, NC, decided not to reopen this weekend. They are taking the time to undertake repair and maintenance projects and hope to reopen soon. As the state of North Carolina transitions from the Stay At Home order to Phase 2 of easing COVID-19 restrictions, people around the Triangle enjoy reopened restaurants and salons.
Credit Kate Medley / For WUNC

Not far away in Carrboro, a hair salon, Salon2eleven, was also open again. Owner Jennifer Bell pretty much had the same set up as Zhuang – no reception waiting room and a long list of appointments.

"It feels exhausting," Bell laughed and sighed. "I have been literally sleeping for two months, so I'm ready but it's been hard, hard to be on my feet again all day long."

Bell is giving clients the option of having their hair cut outside, under a large umbrella.

"We can do an outdoor cut for people who are ready to get out of the house but not ready to go into buildings yet, people who are still a little bit unsure," said Bell.

Kennedy Campbell, a host at Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC, prepares for dinner guests to arrive on Saturday behind a newly installed sneeze guard. As the state of North Carolina transitions from the Stay At Home order to Phase 2 of easing COVID-19 restrictions, people around the Triangle enjoy reopened restaurants and salons.
Credit Kate Medley / For WUNC

Meanwhile, in the city and county of Durham, salons have not re-opened yet. Local leaders say they want to be more cautious to keep the coronavirus at bay. That means salons, barber shops, restaurant dining rooms, and swimming pools must stay closed for an extra week, until June 1.

One business that did re-open for the first time Saturday in Durham was the corner store at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

"We purchased a Father's Day gift, a graduation gift and a birthday gift!" said Anna Brodeur, shopping with her two kids.

Bryan Wilson is the director of Merchandising and Team Travel for the minor league baseball club.

"We have the best fans in minor league baseball by far," said Wilson. "Our web store has been extremely successful in the last two months."

There were supposed to be fancy face masks bearing the Bulls logo for sale in the store. Wilson said they sold out online in 18 hours. He says even with baseball games on hold, fans wanted their Bulls swag.

"We just felt it was right to try to open for the fans!" said Wilson, wearing one of the Bulls masks. "To get the gates open, to be able to bring people down to the ballpark, have a little sense of normalcy."

All 50 states are now beginning to re-open after two months of being shut down.

Though people are itching to get back to normal, it's tenuous. On Saturday, North Carolina's health department reported its highest one-day jump in reported COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began, with the total up by another 1,107. The percent of tests coming back positive was up a tick too, to 10%.

State Health Secretary Doctor Mandy Cohen called these numbers "notable and concerning," asking residents to keep wearing face masks, to wash your hands and wait six feet apart from others.