[Posted November 13, 2020]
The COVID climate has been tough for business. Nevertheless, 77 Salon owner April Appleyard is betting on Hillsdale.
Many local merchants and services were closed for weeks early in the pandemic, and then after re-opening were forced to reduce their hours of operation in response to decreased foot traffic and safety protocols. Commercial vacancies in the Hillsdale business district are high and a few businesses (OmBase and Hillsdale Barber) have closed their doors permanently because of the pandemic.
Despite the financial uncertainty and the logistical complications, Hillsdale has attracted new businesses.
Portland Camera Service began operations in Hillsdale in October, and now 77 Salon has opened next to Salvador Molly’s, in the space formerly occupied by Ever Green Salon (and by Salon Dirk before that).
Appleyard says COVID safety precautions have reduced capacity in her Pearl District location. The Hillsdale salon will provide more space to accommodate clients, many of whom live in SW Portland. She adds, “Not having to travel downtown right now and to be in a great community that feels safe is really nice.” Easy parking is a plus, too.
The Hillsdale 77 Salon is a “clean-air salon,” using PETA-approved, vegan, non-toxic products with no ammonia or formaldehyde. Product lines include Kevin Murphy, Hairstory, and Cult + King.
Appleyard aims to create a family-friendly environment, offering kids’ cuts as well as adult cuts and color. Cuts are $30 for kids, $40-$79 for adults.
Now that her staff has mastered the various COVID safety requirements for salons required by the governor’s office, Appleyard says the biggest challenge to opening a new personal service business during a pandemic is trust: “We’re going slow with our opening because it will take some time to build trust that we are doing everything safely.”
Another challenge is finding new stylists. “No one is moving to new jobs as much as they used to, but we’ve been lucky to be able to put together a good team.”
What’s behind the name? Appleyard, who took over the 25-year old business eight years ago, says it refers to 1977, the year the original owner was born as well as a big year for Portland sports fans when the Trailblazers won the NBA championship.
77 Salon, 1517 SW Sunset Blvd, is now open and taking bookings online and over the phone.
What personal services are you keeping in your routine during the pandemic? Are there any you're still not comfortable with? Let us know.