Getting your hair cut in the great outdoors

Customer service abounds during COVID-19

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

Hair salon Snip City is going to great lengths to serve customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Located at 819 S. Oak Park Ave., the salon offers customers the option to get their hair done outside in the building's parking lot.  

"I just thought, you know, people are eating outside, we can do hair outside," said Snip City owner Pasqualle Russo.

Russo originally offered outside styling as a means of getting clients back to the salon, which closed temporarily in March under the statewide stay-at-home order. The outdoor haircuts have proven very popular for Snip City.

"I was doing it more to get our clients back in, but it's attracted newer clients as well," said Russo.

Many people feel safer outside in the fresh air while wearing a mask than they do wearing a mask inside. Regardless if people get their hair done inside or outside, Snip City requires clients to wear masks throughout their appointments. All the stylists wear masks as well.

 Snip City stylists began doing hair outdoors in the last month, with umbrellas open to shade clients from the sun. Outdoor services aren't limited to haircuts either. Despite not having a sink outside, clients have been getting their hair colored in the open air as well. 

"They can come with their hair already wet or we can spray it down," said Russo. "Some people will get it shampooed inside and then immediately go outside."

Other customers will have Snip City stylists put their color on outside and then wash it out themselves at home. 

"Everybody's got their sense of what they're comfortable with," said Russo. 

And Snip City is willing to accommodate its clients to boost their comfortability. Snip City has the space to serve two people at a time outside. Stylists contact clients ahead of time if they will be sharing the outdoor space with another client.

"We've had people cancel because they thought they were going to be the only ones outside," said Russo. 

The clients reschedule for a time when no other clients have an outdoor appointment.

The number of people who want outdoor appointments grows steadily each week, according to Russo.

"It's starting to build through word-of-mouth," said Russo.

Russo really enjoys working outside. Even before the pandemic, Russo would sometimes ask his clients if they wanted to have their appointments outside on nice days. 

Working outside does present some unique challenges for stylists.

"When it's windy out, hair is flying around," said Russo. "I had to do highlights on waist-length hair a couple weekends ago and it was very challenging."

To combat the wind, Russo pinned everything down to keep the hair from moving around. The highlights still turned out great, according to Russo.

"You just adapt; it's an art," said Russo.

With fall approaching, bringing cooler temperatures, Russo is unsure how long Snip City will be able to continue its outdoor services. 

However, the salon utilizes a range of other safety-conscious customer service practices too. Stylists routinely sanitize chairs, surfaces and instruments inside and outside between clients. 

"Whatever you touch is clean," said Russo. "Whatever we touch is clean."

Inside the salon, the chairs are safely distanced and each stylist has their own station.

"Nobody's ever on top of each other," said Russo.

Clients are required to wait in their cars or outside until their appointment to reduce the number of people around each other at any given time.

The salon also offers disposable masks, so stylists don't accidentally cut their clients' fabric masks or stain them with hair dye.

"I want people to know that they can feel safe coming here," said Russo.

It's also important to him that people know it's OK to want to look nice and take care of themselves.

"People got to feel good about themselves too."

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