Tangles Hair Design in Ponoka. (Image: Facebook)

Tangles Hair Design in Ponoka. (Image: Facebook)

Central Alberta spa owner says Alberta small businesses being ‘culled’

Salons and spas suffer in second shutdown

The current provincial shutdowns and restrictions are expected to be lifted on Jan. 21, 2021, after they were extended on Jan. 7.

The measures include the closing of restaurants, bars, indoor recreation facilities, fitness centres, pools, spas, gyms, studios and indoor rinks. Retail services are reduced to 15 per cent capacity.

“I don’t think what we’re doing right now is going to make a difference so it’s frustrating,” said Kim Green, owner of Altitude Spa in Ponoka.

“I’m not very optimistic.”

Green remembers when Kenney compared Albertans to a herd of buffalo back in April.

He said, “Albertans are remarkably tough, resilient people. Like the buffalo, who unite together to face a prairie blizzard, may we also band together as Albertans to face this storm.”

“I was on board and I’ve done everything that I was asked to do,” said Green.

“Now, from my perspective, the herd is being culled, and it’s the Alberta small business owners being culled. Some local businesses will survive but I don’t think they all will.”

Green says she 100 per cent supports the shutdowns, but they need to be for everyone, or else it’s futile.

She says the current measures don’t make sense, as thousands can gather in big box stores and malls like was seen at West Edmonton Mall and Chinook Mall in Calgary on Boxing Day, yet small stores are closed.

There is also not enough enforcement being done, she says, as without it, following the restrictions is then left up to the values and ethics of the business owners of these larger store or malls.

“I am opposed to shutting down just here and there … no way are we going to curb this if we don’t all do the same thing.”

READ MORE: Local restaurant owner: ‘This is so bad for us’

Green wrote a letter to Jason Kenney expressing her concerns but has not received a response.

Altitude Spa is only able to provide dental hygiene services right now, along with massage clients with a referral or prescription from a regulated health care professional, such as a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or a chiropractor.

Once you have a referral or prescription, it is good for the year. For more information find them on Facebook @AltitudeLaserSpa.

The spa has had to reduce its hours and staff over the year and with the current shutdown, with so few service providers.

Green opened Altitude Spa almost 11 years ago and as a business person she values hard work and being self-reliant.

“When you go into business, you don’t expect to be looking for handouts. To be reduced to hoping for handouts … it’s difficult.”

Although she’s frustrated, with all the negativity going around she say’s she’s trying to keep perspective and remember things could always be worse.

“It’s definitely been a challenging year.”

“Obviously it has affected the business greatly,” said Heather Rodenburg, owner of Tangles Hair Design in Ponoka.

Rodenburg added that other businesses, such as clothing, can still sell items online, but hair salons, by nature, aren’t able to do so.

“We’re hands-on, we can’t do that.”

Although she is still selling some products, there is “little-to-zero income coming in.”

Whether or not businesses should continue to be shutdown, Rodenburg says she’s doesn’t really know, as she isn’t an expert.

“I do feel like we are a very sanitary business in the first place,” she said.

After opening up from the first shutdown, hair salons added even more cleaning and sanitizing measures, and she says it was nice to hear when Premier Jason Kenney acknowledged no known transmissions had come from salons.

“We were obviously doing our jobs and keeping everything as clean as possible,” she said.

As such, the second shutdown came as a surprise, though Tangles has been more fortunate than some, she says.

Their landlord has been very generous and gave them a three-month break on rent in the spring, and has given them a break for January, so they only need to worry about utilities.

The salon isn’t the main source of income for her family, and so they’ve been alright, but her heart goes out to other business owners and families that are financially hurting right now.

On the plus side, when they are open, they are extremely busy catching up on re-scheduled appointments.

After the first shutdown, it took Rodenburg six to seven weeks to catch up on her clients, and it looks like she will have the same when they’re able to open again.

Although she’s booked solid, other stylists at the salon have some openings.

Rather than being negative, she prefers to count her blessings and acknowledge God’s hand in the situation and go on living life with her family.

“I think it’s important to stay positive even though there are a lot of frustrating things going on,” she said.

“I just hope and pray everything goes back to normal soon. It is absolutely unfortunate that this is all happening but we can’t dwell on it and we can’t live in fear … count your blessings.”

To order products from the salon, contact them on their Facebook page @tangleshairdesignponoka.

READ MORE: RCMP attend shortly after central Alberta salon reopens

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