By NICOLE STEIB
SNELLVILLE, Ga. – A 43-year-old male business owner of a prominent barber and beauty salon plans to raise his chair rental for every employee in the coming week.
Gregory Smith, owner of Keep it Kut, had to break the news to his faithful employees of nine years that he has been forced, by the economy, to raise the price of chair rental from $100 a week to $150 a week. Smith has been a successful business owner for nine years but says he is doing what he has to do to save his business.
Small businesses in the U.S. are suffering every day and must make changes to keep their businesses running. Smith plans to counter that by adding new features to the shop like a snack bar, new lighting, and new chairs at every station.
“I feel like I have given 100 percent commitment to my employees,” Smith said. “I just want them to feel appreciated and I want them to realize that I’m not doing this for myself,
I’m doing it because I have to.”
Smith, on many occasions, has tried to get the price of his shop’s monthly mortgage lowered. However the mortgage company will not offer any deals, nor will it allow him to refinance. A recent appraisal of the shop was done and shows that the building is worth only half of what Smith owes.
This is happening to homeowners and business owners everywhere. The housing market is plummeting and people are constantly looking for ways around it.
Employees are Outraged
The employees of “Keep it Kut” barber and beauty salon are outraged at the cost of chair rental goingup. Jamila Higgins, 31, stylist, says she plans to relocate before the chair
rental prices go up.
“I have always brought my own clientele to this shop,” Higgins said. “This shop has never been a good location for walk-ins. Almost everyone that is serviced here is a repeat client
of the stylist or barber. The shop is not very visible from the main road and
that harms the business as well.”
Other stylists in the shop complain that not enough changes are made around the shop.
“I wouldn’t mind paying more money a week if I could see growth from my dollars,” Higgins said. “I want to see new washer and dryers, or get cable TV, instead of having to watch DVDs at work all day. I feel like he is paying rent for the building every month and pocketing the rest of our money.”
Stylists are having a hard time understanding what it is like for a struggling business owner. They feel like they are being preyed upon and ripped off.
“I will move to a shop in Stone Mountain where the chair rental is the price that I have been paying for years,” Higgins said.
Smith says his employees do not understand what goes into creating a business and keeping it afloat.
“The banks won’t give small business owners a break,” Smith said. “If I had a crystal ball when I first became a shop owner, I would rethink my strategy as to how I would go about
buying a shop and owning a business. I have always loved what I do, but now it’s becoming a strain. I don’t want to close the doors because I provide jobs for my people, but if they leave, it may have to come to that.”