Pigtails & Crewcuts Franchise Details Plan to Reopen in Georgia
Wade Brannon, CEO of Pigtails & Crewcuts, with happy customers in the pre-social distancing days.
Hair salons were allowed to open last Friday in Georgia, the first state to loosen that part of its lockdown order. But Pigtails & Crewcuts operators sat it out and will wait to reopen until one week after the corporate store in Atlanta does so May 4.
"I think that's our priority and our responsibility to our franchisees," said CEO Wade Brannon, "not to dive on the grenade, I don't want to say, but to go first" and learn from what happens. "We don't know if it's going to be a soft opening, or if we're going to be slammed."
Franchisee-owned stores in Georgia that are comfortable will open the following week, paying close attention to local rules, Brannon said, and adjusting the plan based on what the corporate store learns. The franchise's units in Texas and Colorado will likely be next, as those states are getting ready to reopen.
"Our Georgia stores are in the metro Atlanta area. We are able to open. We just don't feel it's right for our staff and our customers yet," he said in an interview today. Pigtails & Crewcuts, which offers haircuts to kids, closed all 70 of its stores in March.
Georgia is a test case for how confusing lifting the lockdowns will be, with Georgia's governor advocating to lift, Atlanta's mayor advocating to not, President Trump first praising then criticizing the governor, and private businesses making their own decisions.
Brannon said he stays "above the fray" in terms of politics, and instead focused on a conference call with Georgia franchisees to decide on the reopening plan.
Corporate has created a detailed plan, which involves, among other items: wiping down every surface with disinfectants before opening and between appointments; ordering supplies, including hand sanitizers corporate was able to source in Atlanta in bulk and put in smaller containers to ship to franchisees; and putting extra space between chairs so six feet of distance can be maintained.
Although the hourly capacity is going to be cut at the corporate test site, in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, they plan to extend hours so overall capacity remains the same.
"So many of our considerations are short term, and then long term, and they're very different," he said.
He's read about employers saying their laid-off employees won't come back to work, because they make more money on unemployment with the extra $600 per week COVID-19 spiff. "I'm concerned about it, but not overly concerned about it," he said. "They want to get back to work."
As for people desperate to get their hair done, albeit adults more than kids, presumably, Pigtails & Crewcuts has been putting out notices to parents during the lockdown: "Try not to cut your kids' hair, but if you do we'll fix it."