Barbers and Salons open doors with safety measures in place

Sue Kolve says they've been planning to reopen since they closed eight weeks ago

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) – Many people are probably in need of a haircut. The wait is over as barbers and salons in the area start to reopen their doors.

On paper, it’s something we can live without.

“We’re looking forward to seeing our guests back,” said Sue Kolve-Feehan, owner of Sue Kolve’s Salon & Day Spa in Onalaska.

People who visit this staple of Onalaska’s Main Street have a different opinion on what is essential.

“[Customers] keep saying, ‘You really are an essential business to us,'” Kolve-Feehan said.

When we look good we feel good. After two months without haircuts, the doors to local barbers and salons are unlocked.

“It was like Christmas,” Kolve-Feehan said. “It was so fun.”

Kolve, whose name you see as you drive by, had to restructure her customer service.

“I have never worked harder than we’ve worked in the last eight weeks,” she said.

This is an industry where personal interaction is required.

“We wanted to make sure that we were moving through this in a very responsible and thoughtful way,” she said.

Kolve-Feehan and her staff have created an environment where customers don’t have to touch anything.

“I’m so proud of the work our team did here,” Kolve-Feehan said.

The massage studio has its own specific protocol.

“They are placing all of the linens, all of the laundry. They are wiping down all of the surfaces, any bottles they have touched, the chairs, the door handle, the light switches,” Kolve-Feehan said. “All of that is being completely disinfected.”

Appointments are done over the phone or online. Customers wait outside and only go inside when it’s their turn. This system provides an equal balance so their doors can open safely.

Customer Sandy Michaels was back for the first time in a while. She said her last haircut was about three months ago. She said she was happy to finally get it cut. Kolve said they’ve planned for this week when they closed.

“We placed an order for thermometers the end of March,” she said. “Two of them just arrived today.”

They ordered a four-month supply of hand sanitizer.

“The La Crosse Distillery was very helpful at helping us figure out how we could get the volume and the quantity that we needed,” she said.

Salons are cutting the risk of catching a virus so they can cut hair to create a perfect style.

“You just dig deep and pivot,” Kolve said. “Take that opportunity to really grow.”

Kolve also runs The Salon Professional Academy. She communicates with other salons who employ her students. She said they have worked together to find safe ways to open businesses in the area.