Covid-19

Dundalk barber: Big Covid-19 effort was not enough

Business: Local barber says they adapted to ‘new normal’

Dundalk barber: Big Covid-19 effort was not enough

Despite the need to drastically - and quickly - adapt and alter his business to facilitate all the Covid-19 safety precautions, local barber Craig Colgan is once again staring down the barrel of six more weeks of a shuttered shop front and a silent cash register.

Craig, who owns Sailor Sharkey on Castletown Road in Dundalk, feels that everyone in his industry made a huge effort to ensure they were Covid compliant, but in the end, it hasn’t saved them from closure as level 5 restrictions kicked in last week.

“It was tough personally closing my business for a second time,” Craig laments, while speaking to the Democrat this week. “With coming back in late June, we were just getting back to normality, so it was a disappointing setback for the business going into lockdown last week.”

He adds that he cannot be faulted for not adapting to the ‘new normal’ after the first lockdown.

“I felt, along with most other barber shops and hairdressers, that we went above and beyond to keep our customers and ourselves as safe as possible; with so many different PPE measures put in place and that tells with the low numbers of cases that have come from our industry.”

Despite the obvious mental and financial pressures imposed by level 5, Craig is willing to gain something positive from these six weeks.

“I will try to use the time well personally and for the business. I'll be looking to improve my barbering skills with some courses, update my website and organise some future marketing projects for the business that I have put on the long finger.”

However, to add a further tinge of bitterness, Craig, who is a keen golfer, cannot even get out on the course to ease the burden.

“Personally, I was looking forward to playing golf a few days a week to keep me going, but sadly my golf course in Greenore has had to close due to the lockdown.”

What would he say to people in a similar situation?

“It is a tough time for business owners and will be for a few weeks. It can be a good time to make plans and future goals.

“We will all go through a lot of emotions during the next while, and as a business owner it is our identity and it is tough to see it taken away, even though it’s for a small period.”

He continues: “We all need to stay positive and chat to friends and family about how you feel. Look after your physical and mental health through these times. Remember, as small business owners we are all sacrificing together and will get through this and see the other side.”

Ultimately, the bottom line for any business is to make money, 2020 has been a dreadful year on that front.

“Having already been closed for three months, that is 25% of the year’s potential revenue gone for this year.

“Adding another six weeks will just add to that decrease in revenue for 2020. There has been some help with restart grants, but ultimately 2020 will be down as a bad year for business.

“(I’m) trying to stay positive, I am looking forward to a successful 2021.”