Opinion: Don’t clip the barber shop

During this crazy season of COVID-19, we have endured many changes in our community and in the world. It has not been an easy time for anyone. We have had to remain separated from friends and family, from coworkers and classmates, from our church families, from our teachers and students. We have had to communicate in online meetings and virtual classrooms; and the sight of people wearing masks has become normal. Many people have not been able to work and have applied for unemployment.

In spite of the efforts of the government to help both individuals and businesses financially, the truth is that this time of Social Distancing has damaged our small businesses immensely. Some of the business owners have considered a permanent closure.

This saddens me greatly. It is the small businesses that are the heart of our community. Owning a business is a dream held by many American people, and we live in a country that encourages people to start their own businesses. It is not only a dream, but a realistic possibility for every American.

In our community of Madera, many of the small businesses will survive. Some will not. It is important for each of us to understand the impact of our support of a small business in our own community. We tend to think only of ourselves when we are looking for an item to purchase or a personal service. We try to get the best price, or the most convenient method for getting what we want. We tend to think the best choice is the least expensive or the fastest way to obtain it. We have been taught to be frugal, and some of us actually ARE frugal. It is admirable to consider the value of a dollar when spending; however, when we go outside of our community to make purchases of goods or services, there goes our money — outside of our community. That money helps other cities, not Madera. Additionally, this drives our local prices higher.

Now, back to the whole plight of the small, local businesses and the impact of the society shutdown during this coronavirus ordeal. It is critical that we consider the survival of some of the small businesses here in Madera.

Fortunately, for The Madera Tribune, we are considered essential because we are the media, and we have been allowed to operate during the Social Distance, Sheltering-In Era. We have attempted to promote and support the restaurants and other small businesses in Madera. Because we are the community newspaper for this town, we are in a position to help foster cooperation among businesses and individuals. We are trying to do that. However, we depend on the small businesses to advertise with us, and it is through this advertising revenue that we are able to bring you the community news.

You may have noticed during this pandemic that our paper has gotten a bit smaller, and you may also have noticed that there is less advertising. When our local businesses suffer, so does the local newspaper. Even so, we are committed to our lovely community of Madera, and we are hopeful that this, too, shall pass.

The focus on this article is not intended to be about The Madera Tribune. I don’t need to explain that we live in a time when people think they can get all their information online, and thus newspapers in general have had to fight a dirty battle. In spite of this fact, there are many folks who would be heartbroken to find someday they cannot get their PAPER newspaper.

My point today is to focus on small businesses who were not considered essential, and were forced to close their doors during this pandemic. The business industry I am thinking of right now is Barbering & Cosmetology — the barber shops and beauty salons. I know in my heart of hearts that those people are struggling. I would even venture to say that there are some of us out there who would consider them an essential business. If you could see how much my hair has grown since this whole thing has gone on, you would know what I mean. I NEED a haircut. (I’ve also heard Chuck Doud cry in desperation over needing a haircut. Imagine that.)

If you have a favorite beautician, manicurist, esthetician, or barber, you may know that the amount they charge you for their service is not the amount they can take home and spend. Most of them have to pay rent for the booth or shop they use. They have to buy supplies, and they have to pay taxes on what they make. Additionally, that $25 or $30 (or whatever amount) you paid for a haircut may have been all he or she received all day. In order for them to make a decent day’s income, they must have client after client all day long, while standing on their feet.

I encourage you to think about this person, the one who makes you feel good about yourself for the day. Show some gratitude. Find out how to reach him/her during this era, and take over a monetary gift that will make him/her feel appreciated. I suggest you take a card with a hundred bucks, or whatever you can afford. Pick a time when you are going merely to give the gift, and not just to get a haircut.

Let me know if I have pulled at your heart string, and if you follow through with this plan. I want to know what you have done for your beautician. (I use that word as a catch-all, because all of them make you feel beautiful.) Ahem, and if you would like to secretly put an ad in the paper (of course I mean The Madera Tribune), to show your appreciation for this person, give me a call or email me at nancys@maderatribune.net.

If you can think of ideas to help local businesses, The Madera Tribune wants to hear your suggestions. Meanwhile, shop local.

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