Cut in Business: Local Barber Looks to Stay Connected

Cut in Business: Local Barber Looks to Stay Connected

Al’s Barbershop, like many other barbershops, has been feeling the pain of COVID-19. Although the shelter in place orders came fast, Al’s reacted just as quickly.

“We’ve been closed since March 16 per the shelter-in-place order. We shut down immediately, informed all our clients that had appointments and our larger client base shortly after,” said barber Joe Polissky. “Originally, we were advised that the order would likely be lifted by the beginning of April. This was then revised to May, now June. We are patiently awaiting the definite date we can go back to work.”

While Al’s is waiting, like many other shops, they have come across a sudden financial roadblock. Without customers, Al’s cannot make the money needed to pay rent. Only recently has Al’s been able to qualify for unemployment insurance.

“Unfortunately, since we are all independent contractors, we didn’t immediately qualify for unemployment insurance or the paycheck protection program. Only about a week ago were we able to apply for the newly revised pandemic unemployment assistance from the state,” said Polissky. 

When asked about applying for rent relief from the government he said, “We have applied for some programs, but either did not qualify because of the nature of our business or haven’t heard back. After speaking with colleagues it seems like most of us are in the same boat.”
Although not all is lost, even though Al’s cannot give haircuts, their community is extremely supportive in this time of need.

“Our customers have been nothing short of amazing during this crisis,” said Polissky. “They have stepped up in an amazing fashion. We had to reach out to our community for assistance by setting up a GoFundMe and were met with incredible support.”

Knowing their customers cannot get haircuts or shaves during shelter-in-place, all of the barbers at Al’s have been growing out their hair and facial hair to stand in solidarity with its community.

In an attempt to support its barbers, Al’s created clothing to sell to its customers.

“We also sell Al’s Barber Shop shirts and hats with all profits going directly to the barbers, owners excluded.”

Both items can be purchased at www.alsbarbers.bigcartel.com

It’s a win-win, as Al’s barbers are able to support themselves while their community is able to stay connected.
 

Rafael Arrendando is an English and journalism student at Encinal High School.