ENCINITAS, Calif. – As more businesses are getting the green light to reopen, not all of them are able to bounce back after being closed for over two months.
Detour Salon, a fixture in downtown Encinitas for more than two decades, held a clearance sale Thursday after making the decision to close for good.
“This is a death just like any other death,” Detour part owner Kirk Bell said. “There are stages to death and I’m still grappling with all the different stages. Right now, I’m really angry.”
Bell said he’s angry to walk away from a business after 20 years with little to show for it. He said it’s impossible to pay the facility’s entire rent when they’re only able to work at half capacity under current restrictions — not to mention making up for lost revenue from being closed.
“Any small business — no matter how profitable or well-run they may be — is not going to be able to survive a 70-day shutdown generating zero revenue,” he said.
The challenges that are shuttering salons are being echoed in small businesses across the state who also are facing similar decisions.
On Thursday, longtime customers waited in line to shop and get their hair done at Detour for the last time.
“There it is,” said part owner Jarrod Harms, tearing up. “These are people that we’ve seen for 20 years so we’ve built relationships with our customers. It’s really gut-wrenching to have to say goodbye.”
Elizabeth Fried says her children got their first haircuts at Detour.
“I’ve known so many of them throughout the years and they’re wonderful and this place… I would never have imagined would be closing,” Fried said. “I’m in shock.”
The owners say they’re working to find new places for their hair stylists to go. The aftermath of the closure will look different for many of them. As for Kirk Bell, he says after dealing with regulations for small businesses and now COVID-19, he’s quitting California.
“I think this is going to be a game changer for businesses post-COVID,” Bell said. “Whether or not the state starts to change its ways, I think that’s going to take 10, 15, or 20 years and I don’t have the time left to wait for those changes to take place.”
The owners are also sending out a message for people to shop local whenever possible, saying just because businesses are allowed to reopen doesn’t mean they’ll be able to survive post-COVID.