Less than six months after opening her new business Joss & Beans, Janell Travis had to not only cut her hours but she also had to close down her long-time salon, Revive, due to COVID-19. The road back to turning her welcome sign to open was long and at times a little bumpy, but she is more than happy to be back doing what she loves.
“I honestly did not think it was really going to happen and it was really going to close down,” Travis said. “The coffee shop, it was St. Patrick’s Day when everything shut down, I closed at noon that day. I don’t think I ever closed, closed, I had to change my hours.”
Having to adjust to abbreviated hours was detrimental to the business, she said, but thankfully she also had her salon to fall back on.
“Because this business (Revive) pays for the building, I didn’t apply for anything over there (Joss & Beans) which I should have because it has taken a huge, huge hit,” Travis said. “If I didn’t have (Revive) I would have to close (Joss & Beans) for sure.”
For a total of nine weeks, Revive sat closed, giving Travis more time on her hands than she is used to. To help provide for herself and her family, she was able to get unemployment but the process was not easy for those self-employed and period from when she closed down to when she received funds was substantial.
“I think it was four weeks before we got anything,” Travis said. “I feel bad for people that had nothing. If you don’t plan ahead, what do you do? I also did apply for the SBA loan and did get that. I was fortunate and I know some people had it much, much worse, so I can’t complain.”
Being home with her kids, seeing new sites and spending time exploring outside was fun, she said, but she was also missing the satisfaction she gets from helping her clients.
“I though we would just have one week, so I was like I was going to get some projects done, then it was ‘now what?’” Travis said. “When a lot of people liked being home, it was fun for them, not that I didn’t enjoy it because it was fun to be home with the kids, I think that a lot of cosmetologist, our brains are very similar and it is not healthy for us to be at home at all. Your mind just never stops. It was emotionally hard because you miss your clients and just talking to people. When you make people feel good everyday and that is done, it’s like you have no purpose.”
The day did finally come when she could welcome guests back in, a lot of whom hadn’t seen a cut or color for some time, and she was ready with safety practices put in place. While getting to that point was a little “panicky” at times due to now knowing what regulations would be put in place, the change of pace has been an unexpected positive for Travis.
“For me personally, it has been a much more relaxed environment because I used to try to cram everybody in and get everybody done,” Travis said. “It has been more enjoyable coming because one, people appreciate you way more and also because we have to take extra time to clean and make sure everything is sanitized, I have to schedule a certain amount of time for people and not double book. I’ve been able to sit and enjoy time with my client while they process.”
At the salon they use masks, have newly cleaned capes for each client and conduct a variety of cleaning measures before, during and after clients leave. Keeping everyone six feet apart can cause a battle for the sink, but so far the process has gone well.
“Because we are by appointment only it has not been difficult, our schedule allows it,” Travis said.
The coffee shop has a ways to go before reaching its popularity before the pandemic hit. Hours are beginning to increase with restrictions lifted and more people are walking through the door to get their caffeine fix.
“I’ve probably lost three-quarters of my business and that’s a big deal but there isn’t a lot we can do about it,” Travis said. “But this town, I think a lot of small towns have seen a lot of love and support and if there is something going on here the support that comes in is unreal. It is amazing the generosity that has come out of this.”
Travis isn’t worrying about what might next and plans to “cross that bridge if she has to.” For now, she is just enjoying being back behind the chair, doing what she does best.
Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org