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New Hampshire salon reopens to brisk business

By Madeline Hughes - The Eagle Tribune | Jun 6, 2020

SALEM – Getting back to normal meant getting a pedicure for Charlotte Alan of Methuen. She had an appointment set at Diva Professionals Total Beauty in Salem last week after the state started allowing salons to offer more services this week.

Alan was one of the many people getting a fresh coat of paint on their nails as salons across the state were busy with manicure and pedicure appointments.

There were noticeable differences – shelves with beauty supplies were covered in plastic, chairs were more spaced out, customers and employees had to wear masks and they had to get their temperatures taken at the door.

All of those measures were part of the state’s guidelines to prevent the spread of

COVID-19.

“I feel safe and it feels great,” Alan said while sitting and getting a pedicure.

Salon owner Elio Cutone likened his reopening to be “like we are launching a space

mission.”

He and his employees were pouring over the guidance from the federal and state government to open safely because his customers’ and employees’ health is of the utmost importance, he said.

The salon offers nail services, hair styling, massages and skincare services. Haircutting was the first service to be reinstated, and now the salon is able to offer nail services while they go over the guidance to offer massages, he said.

His advice to clients coming in for manicures and pedicures: Come in with clean hands. He knows people tried to maintain their nails while salons were closed, but it helps his employees be able to do a faster better service.

Cutone’s 45-years in the salon business allowed him to build a loyal client base, many of whom have been scheduling appointments right away, he said. However, the change in the business is going to be hard, he said.

“Money (coming in) has gone down and expenses have gone up,” he explained as he reopened on Tuesday. “We have to spend more to process the client and we can’t process as many clients.”

One bright spot: Diva Professionals qualified for a small business loan through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, the benefit also brought added expenses.

“Although we were granted money from PPP, now I’ve had to hire an accountant to even see if we qualify for the forgiveness,” Cutone said. “With the number of expenses that occur because of (the coronavirus) we are overshadowed.”

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

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