Salons, barbershops get back to business

Jeff Carpenter, manager of Cal’s Barber Shop in Lake Sumter Landing, cuts the hair of Richard Cecchini, of the Village of Sunset Pointe, as barbershops and hair salons were allowed to reopen Monday.

Julia Grizzard was “thrilled to death” to be able to get her hair cut again. “I feel like a bag lady,” she said. “I need a haircut.” She and her husband, Larry, get their hair cut every four weeks at Cal’s Barber Shop in Lake Sumter Landing. The Village of Bridgeport at Lake Miona residents visited before it closed March 27, but on Monday both of their hair was longer than they liked. The couple returned to Cal’s on Monday — the first day salons could start offering services to clients again after closing because of COVID-19. On Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order that allowed barbershops, hair salons and cosmetology locations to reopen Monday to specific guidelines and restrictions. The Grizzards were able to get an appointment, and they weren’t the only ones with that idea. Multiple hair salons, nail salons, barbershops and spas in The Villages had lines of customers out the door waiting to see a staff member or phones ringing off the hook. Some locations are already booked for the week, and some for the entire month, as businesses worked to open up while keeping safe and practicing social distancing.

Hair and Nails

Every time Owner Renee Webb of Cal’s Barber Shop finished a call, the phone would ring again. Every time Anne Pinsonneault, receptionist at Cal’s, would get through making appointments for the line of people who couldn’t get through by phone, more would show up.

Webb had to call in extra staff to help with the demand. There was even a line of people outside and down the block in the morning waiting for the doors to open.

The Grizzards were happy they were able to get in so soon and see their usual stylist.

“I’ve just missed her as a friend, hearing about her kids, what’s happening, how they’re doing, and, of course, we’ve missed the haircut,” Julia said.

Things at the Cal’s Barber & Beauty in Brownwood were busy, too, with people arriving to make appointments for next week.

Jeff Blackburn, of the Village of Lake Deaton, made an appointment to get his hair trimmed after having to do his own haircuts.

“I spent nearly 30 years in dentistry with a very neat haircut,” he said. “With all the shops closed, everyone had to go walking around like it was the ’70s again.”

Blackburn said he managed to keep his hair trimmed the last few weeks by clipping the sides, but he’s glad to finally leave it to the professionals.

Jennifer Erwin, owner of Color Me Hair Studio in Buffalo Ridge Plaza, is glad to be back and see her usual clients.

The location had 24 appointments scheduled for three stylists on Monday. The phones were ringing constantly, and the location’s two senior stylists are fully booked for the rest of the month and for the first three weeks of June.

Staff is ready to get back into the swing of things and see their customers.

“They are just very excited and they have missed everybody in the salon,” Erwin said. “They’ve missed the relationships and the contact.”

Fantastic Sams Cut & Color in Lake Deaton Plaza opened Monday, and Mike Neary, of Wildwood, was able to get in after someone canceled their appointment.

Neary was getting a few items at Publix when he remembered salons and barbershops had reopened.

It’s been more than a month since he got a haircut.

“I’ve done a little shaving at home here and there, but I don’t know how to trim,” Neary said. “I decided to wait because I didn’t want to be walking around looking like one of those people with a hack job they did themselves (at home).”

Others were just as ready to get their nails professionally done.

Kathryn Phipps, of the Village of Glenbrook, waited to make an appointment at Nail Saloon in Brownwood after painting her own nails for the last few weeks.

“I haven’t done my own pedicure in around 15 years, so it’s been a little rough,” she said. “I’ve stuck with soft, pale colors so if I get it on my skin, it’s not as noticeable.”

Phipps was excited to make an appointment, and she already had her go-to color picked out — Pompeii Purple.

Barbara Nguyen, owner of Nail Saloon, Nails and Beyond in Buffalo Ridge Plaza and Nails and Beyond 2 in Lake Deaton Plaza, is excited and nervous to be back.

“We need to keep staff and the employees and the community safe,” Nguyen said. “It’s a lot of responsibility.”

Establishments are taking the necessary steps to ensure everyone’s safety, such as social distancing. Some stores are not requiring customers to wear a mask, while others, such as Nguyen’s, are. At Nguyen’s locations, clients are also being asked to give their information, so staff know whom to call if there is an issue and a client needs to be tracked down.

Staff at local establishments are wearing masks and cleaning their areas after seeing a client. When someone enters Cal’s Barber Shop in Lake Sumter Landing, for example, customers are being asked to put on hand sanitizer.

Moving Forward

While many salons and barbershops were quick to reopen when able, other businesses decided to wait to welcome back the public.

Signature Nails in Lake Sumter Landing, for instance, is opening May 18, because the executive order was released at such short notice, said Bryan Hoang, owner of the location.

Hoang wants enough time to clean and set up everything before reopening.

Mary Hockett, one of the owners of Tuscany-The Salon & Spa in Lake Sumter Landing, decided to open today instead of Monday, to make sure all protocols were in place, confirm appointments and inform guests of things they can expect.

Hockett is preparing for a full day today at the salon and spa, with everything booked.

“We’re excited to be back and to serve our community, and we miss all of our guests,” she said.

Salon Jaylee, located at Southern Trace, Colony and Rolling Acres plazas, also will reopen today, as owner Janet West wanted more time to have everything prepared for her staff and guests.

They’re expecting a busy day. Once DeSantis’ order was made, calls flooded in from people wanting to come in.

“We’re very happy that we get to reopen our businesses and our salon and our staff can get back to work,” West said. “We’ve been working diligently to prepare for this ever since we closed.”

Staff writer Summer Jarro can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5404, or Staff writers Maddie Cutler and Cody Hills contributed to this report.