Alchemy Hair Salon is nestled right next to Trader Joes in a Silver Spring shopping center. Today most of the chairs are full and the sound of blow dryers is everywhere. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Maryland salon closed for about three months. Roxie, the salon owner, remembers vividly what those first few days were like.
“It was scary,” she said. “I had 23 employees and all I kept thinking was like, I cannot allow 23 people to go without a future or out without a job.”
Roxie is one of thousands of small business owners in the service industry that persisted throughout the pandemic with little government relief. Although the salon reopened in June 2020, Alchemy is still feeling the effects of the pandemic, more than a year and a half later.
Roxie as well as two of her staff members share their experiences coming into work everyday during the pandemic — despite the risks and emotional drain — intent on helping their clients feel better.
This feature was produced for Capital News Service by Molly Castle Work.