South Bay Salons Fight the COVID Fade

Some in the industry make it work, others say going outdoors isn’t an option

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Local business groups in Chula Vista say Third Avenue was on a renaissance - that is until COVID-19. Since then, businesses in the area, like many others in the county, have had it rough, and businesses like hairstylists seem to have been having a particularly rough time.  

“It’s super inconvenient for the barber and the customer,” said Michael Acosta, owner of Mickey Lou’s Barber Shop. “But we gotta do what we got to do.

Acosta opened up his own barbershop on Third Avenue in Chula Vista just a year ago.

Along with two other barbers, he was living the dream of owning his own business until COVID-19 shut him down.

“They originally asked us to close March then they gave us permission to re-open three months later and then they told us to shut down again,” Acosta said. “And then they gave us a week and told us to start cutting hair outside.”

He says that comes with some challenges.

“I can only have one chair in my tent (set up outside), as opposed to having my two other barbers cutting hair beside me,” Acosta said.

He says things are getting rough, financially.

“( I can) make it work, but not forever,” Acosta said. “We can’t save any money, we can’t grow.

He has no option but to try and get by one haircut at a time.

But not every personal care business is created equal. Salon owner Snookie Rico finds working outdoors is not an option.

“Eighty percent of our clientele come for color services,” Rico said. “We are known for our color services. We cannot do color, chemicals, shampooing outside.”

Rico’s on 3rd has been in the neighborhood for over 20 years.

“Coming to our salon is an experience,” Rico said. “It’s an experience that proves to be very personal and uplifting to our clients. We don’t want to diminish the experience they have when they come.”

The salon also offers free services to cancer patients. Rico says she doesn't want to put them at risk. 

“Safety is of the utmost importance,” Rico said.

For the time being Rico’s on 3rd will remain closed. They are working on setting up an online beauty supply shop to help them stay afloat. 

Starting this weekend and through the month of August, Third Avenue will be closed to traffic from noon to 8 p.m. to help support small businesses with the space to bring their services outdoors. 

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