Denver barber and beauty shops thinking outside the box to pay employees during COVID-19 closures

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DENVER (KDVR) – Employees at beauty shops and barber shops have been among the hardest hit by coronavirus closures. Their income dried up when their shops were forced to shut down. Now, some local business owners are trying some outside-the-box approaches to make ends meet.

“Small business is what runs Colorado, in my opinion,” Brandon Stolz, owner of BC Barber Co., told FOX31.

His shop on East Colfax Avenue was forced to close, along with every other salon and barber shop in the city. Immediately, Stolz realized something needed to be done to bring some relief to his barbers.

“A local company called Indyink posted on Instagram a promo for their shop to help small businesses by printing up T-shirts and 100 percent of the proceeds go to your business. So I contacted them and designed a T-shirt real quick. Had some help, designed a T-shirt real quick and put it out there for a limited-time sale just to try and help our barbers that aren’t making any income right now,” Stolz said.

The T-shirts are for sale on the shop’s Facebook and Instagram pages as of Thursday. The response has been overwhelming.

“It brought a tear to my eye, honestly, to see how quickly it began,” Stolz said.

With the beauty industry reeling from coronavirus concerns, employees all over the metro are getting inventive to pay the bills. Like Elizabeth DiGiorgio, a hair stylist at The Storybrick salon in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood.

“I think a lot of us thought we could do house calls and home haircuts. And then I heard we could lose our license if we do that, so hair is kaput,” DiGiorgio said. Unable to style hair for the time being, she now has a back-up plan.

“I started making trucker hats, and then I make snow hats, (Kentucky) Derby hats. I say, ‘we can make all your hat dreams come true.’ I can custom make whatever,” DiGiorgio said.

Her entrepreneurship doesn’t stop there. She has sorted through her closet and picked out items for a new online consignment shop.

“Might as well try to raise as much as possible right now,” she said.

No one knows when life will return to normal for the thousands who keep Denver groomed.  But until then, many are trying to come up with a backup plan to lessen the financial pain.

“I mean, everything helps in these small businesses for sure,” Stolz said.

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