TAMPA, Fla. — Zelma’s Hair studio has been on East Hillsborough Avenue for more than two decades.
“I’ve been cutting over 20 years, and I have longtime customers,” said Zelma Culpepper.
She’s scared and “it’s depressing,” because she could lose her shop and customers. Unfortunately, thousands of Tampa Bay area barbers, hairstylists and even restauranteurs are in the same boat. They were all forced to shut down for two months because of the coronavirus.
For many, that meant two months without pay. And to reopen, they had to purchase safety supplies like Masks, Hand sanitizer, gowns and plastic head shields.
“I don’t want to catch the virus, and I don’t want my customers to either,” said Culpepper.
She said the supplies cost her $250. Her shop has been open for about two weeks, and she already needs more.
“I’m trying to figure out how I can get what I need without raising my prices,” she said.
That might be easier said than done.
Some Tampa Bay area barbers and hairstylists have already raised their prices. Some barbers are charging $30 to $40 for a haircut.
Zelma understands the frustration that some customers are feeling over rate hikes, but she says, “we have to survive too, or we will be out of business.”
According to CNN, several restaurants across the country have either raised their prices or added a “covid surcharge” to their customers’ bills. ABC Action news checked with local restaurants, and none have done that yet, but it is something some owners are talking about.