By Justin Seward
Bow Island’s Chelsea’s Hair Designs was forced to close their doors for a second time this year as per the Dec. 8 announcement of Alberta going into shut down mode for four weeks starting midnight Dec. 13 after the rise in COVID-19 cases across the province.
“I’m disappointed,” said Chelsea Geldrich, owner of Chelsea’s Hair Designs.
“I guess I’m mostly disappointed that I feel like southern Alberta is doing pretty good for our numbers now. Forty Mile County is down in numbers. We’ve been steadily decreasing the numbers this last week. Medicine Hat has gone down, Taber’s gone down-I hate being lumped in with the cities for this. I’ve put a lot of time and money into making sure that I have a very safe environment for people to come in and get their hair done and I feel pretty confident in that space. It’s just really disappointing to have shut down on the busiest month of our year.”
Prior to the announcement, Geldrich was preparing for clients to come in to get their hair done for Christmas pictures.
“A lot of people like to look good for Christmas pictures and we’re not suppose to be gathering- you’re hoping still maybe (there is) going to be a chance,” she said.
“In the dreary part of winter, you look in the mirror, and you don’t like your hair-it’s like blah, everything else is blah-it’s a pick me up. I was booked solid in December. I did have a few openings still (last) week, but next week and the week after-leading up to the 24th- I had no openings. You look at that and you budget accordingly in your bank book.”
Geldrich says this December was going to make up for the shut down last spring.
The hair salon was putting in 10 to 12 hour days before the announcement and last week were working more to get as many clients in before the shutdown.
“Tomorrow (Dec. 10), Friday and Saturday, I’m probably (doing) 14-hour days just to try to get a few extra people booked in. I looked at my Monday and Tuesday next week and thought ‘ I can get them in still’ and they wanted to come,” she said.
She initially thought the spring shut down was only going to last two to three weeks then and it lead into a longer period that she was shocked by.
She used that time to do a shop renovation and now this time will not have that to do.
Geldrich will be available if people want to pick up hair products.
“I’m still allowed to sell my retail, so there’s that I guess,” said Geldrich.
“I always fully stock up my retail shelf as full because I try to have things on hand for some stocking stuffers and things like that.”
The province announced last Tuesday that a Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant would be available and offers up to $20,0000 in financial assistance for businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations and have experienced a revenue reduction of 30 per cent during the pandemic.
Applicants must show April or May 2020 as a demonstration of their 30 per cent loss in reduction.
“It goes based on a portion of your income,” she said.
“Even if I qualify for it, it’ll be probably an eighth to a quarter of that $20,000 amount. Somebody was talking to me about the CRB (Canadian Recovery Benefit) payments, (saying) ‘Well you’ll qualify for the CRB payments.’ But I’m like you look into that- if you make over $38,000 a year in 2020- they’re going to make you pay some of that back. Is that even worth looking into and quite frankly I just really don’t want to live off of government subsidy. I’d rather live off of my income that I feel very qualified to earn.”
She is not rebooking clients until a firm opening date is determined.
“I feel like I’m one of the fortunate ones – I’ll make it through- and I will be prepared to be open again. I’m not going to have to shut my doors,” she said.