GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Almost a year into the pandemic, barbershops and salons are working to Rebound from the economic fallout from COVID-related closures.
Michigan barber shops, salons, and other personal care services were forced to temporarily close March 22, 2020, and allowed to reopen with restrictions in May.
Some were able to reopen after being shuttered roughly 90 days, while many were not so lucky, forced to close indefinitely under the weight of the pandemic, like The James Salon in East Grand Rapids.
The Shop GR is a new barber shop in Grand Rapids and is part of the first wave of businesses hoping to thrive after the pandemic’s economic fallout.
Michigan ranked number two when it came to states impacted by government-mandated closures, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says 32% of Michigan businesses were impacted.
Despite uncertainty, Andy Maltby says he was able to find good fortune while pursuing his dream barbershop. He owns The Shop GR, located at Tamarack and Leonard NW in Grand Rapids.
The sports-themed barbershop has ESPN streaming on his TVs, autographed sports memorabilia hanging on the walls, and it welcomes men of all sizes and stature to sit back and let their hair down.
“I just always wanted a place to hang out, and then I always wanted to make people look good,” said Maltby. “When you walk through my door, it’s time to relax.”
Keeping it simple helped him open his doors during the pandemic in November, which enabled him to learn how to abide by new rules set by the state while finalizing his barber license.
The Shop GR is also hiring. Maltby says it's a great spot for anyone looking to sharpen their skills as a barber.
Marielle Shuster, owner and stylist at Coiffeteria Salon in East Grand Rapids, says she’s grateful to reopen her space after overcoming a lot of stress and adversity.
“I’m a firm believer that God has a plan, and I just trust in it,” Shuster said.
She says the impact of the pandemic has forced her to rethink how the business operates, even brainstorming ways to accommodate clients outside when the weather permits, saying flexibility is a big reason why her salon is still in business.
“We’re hoping to get back to normal, but our main concern is staying open and keeping everyone safe,” Shuster said.
The seemingly simple goals of staying open and returning to some form of normalcy have proved to be anything but simple, but they are shared by all business owners.
As the pandemic continues bulldozing local businesses, both professionals remind you to support shop owners in your community who are working to support their families.
For a full list of businesses that are in West Michigan, check out our We're Open page, which is dedicated to providing information about local businesses in need of your support.