LIMA —Posh Nail Spa had been opened for less than two months before Ohio’s stay-at-home orders shut it down.
“We were just catching traction and then…boom. Closed,” Owner Tony Phung said.
Today, like many other small business owners, he’s prepping to reopen.
Days away from the event, Phung has stored boxes of facial masks and made gallons of hand sanitizer for the expected rush of customers on Friday. Along a wall of chairs, little paper placards mark which have been sprayed down and disinfected.
Earlier in the year, Phung said he didn’t expect any repercussions from the coronavirus. After watching the number of deaths tick up to 80,000, he’s now bracing for societal impacts down the line.
“It’s going to be a struggle. When you drop a rock into the pond it’s going to have a ripple effect. Life’s going to change forever,” Phung said.
He expects nail salons, especially, to be hit hard. Salonists need to be in close proximity with their customers, and safety may be a concern.
“If the customer worries about it, we want to tell them that everything we do will be one-time-use and disposable. So there’s no contamination. People are getting a free face mask and jar of hand sanitizer when they come in,” Phung said.
As for business bills, Phung has held on thanks in part to his landlord, who required reduced rent.
Other bills will be paid in the future, and the customer base he has been able to establish so far will help by providing that business income when the doors reopen.
At Perennial Glow Spa in downtown Lima, Owner Natasha Mears knows her customers are ready, but she’s playing it safe in the meantime. When salons are allowed to open back up on Friday, Mears is limiting her business services to waxings on Saturday at least through May.
Mears said the extra time closed will allow the business to make adjustments to operations. During the two-month shut-down, she’s been able to take a strong look at service processes and procedures that could be tweaked for the better, and she expects that it will take some time to get everyone back working efficiently.
Because the business was closed, Perennial Glow Spa did lose revenue, but Mears said that closing the spa wasn’t a new experience. Last year, when the business moved to its new downtown location, services had been shut down for two months in the spring. This year, the coronavirus shut-down was practically a repeat, and the business had been able to save enough through its seven-year-history to be able to weather the financial burden.
“I feel blessed and fortunate that we’re okay,” Mears said. “We’ve lost money, but we were able to ride the wave, if you will. That’s a blessing. We have been able to grow without a whole lot of debt.”
Other businesses almost completely dodged some major coronavirus bumps.
For The Food Store Owner Jonah Agner, his second business in Bluffton — the Greenhorn Restaurant — was set to open May 1, and while the timeline has since been shifted, the nature of his first business helped prop up the second as he waited out the lock-downs. Grocery sales at The Food Store, especially for fresh local, has seen an upswing as more and more people cook from home, he said.
Like Mears, Agner said he’s waiting a little bit until opening in order to make sure processes to protect customers don’t disrupt service. They’ll be doing to-go orders through June in the meantime.
“We might have more limited seating when we’re open on-premise, and I think we’ll really try to streamline our to-go processes for the month of June,” Agner said.
Mandy Osterfeld, too, had primary businesses support her new business during the coronavirus pandemic. She had been scheduled to open the The Fun Company in Leipsic this past April, and while she hasn’t been able to officially open the doors, customers have still found her due to her ownership of Leipsic’s Uptown Market and Cafe. The flagship first Fun Company located in Bellefontaine has also helped.
“When the order to close came, I didn’t know what was going to happen, but the community supported us right away. I was maybe sad for a day,” Osterfeld said. “People came out of the woodwork.”
With support where it is now, Osterfeld said she’s even more excited to see what business is like when The Fun Company officially opens.
“I think this has been a test for all business owners to see what we got. Are we just going to sit around and take this? Or are we going to innovate to get through it?” she said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.