“I love doing nails,” Tina Bui says. “I love the interaction with the clients, and I learn so much from people. I just love what I do.” But at the moment, Tina and her five employees are completely out of work.
Tina’s Ylan Salon and Spa has been shut down for nearly six weeks, and “by the time we open, it will have been two months.” Tina explains, “Because we’re a service-based salon, when we don’t provide any service, we don’t have any income. So all the girls are laid off. I applied for the Paycheck Protection Program loan, but I didn’t make it in time before the money ran out.”
Tina states, “Of the girls that worked for me, two managed to receive unemployment funds, while three are still waiting. All of these women depend on this income to feed their families.”
Tina has been a nail technician for 29 years, and Ylan is her second shop. “We opened this salon in Meridian because I wanted to be closer to home. My children are growing up, and I wanted to be able to spend more time with them.” The Ylan Salon is on Eagle Road. Tina notes, this is “the busiest road in the whole state," therefore, "rent is really, really expensive. We’re still having to pay rent during the shutdown, though I’m behind right now.”
Tina wonders if she’ll survive the shutdown. “The nature of my salon is that we do a lot of pedicures, and people don’t get them in the wintertime,” Tina explained. “So the critical time for me to survive in this business is March. We were shut down just in time to miss the busy season — we missed spring break, we missed prom, we missed graduation, we missed Mother’s Day, the whole spring season. My business only survives because of the spring and summer, so I’m very, very nervous.”
Tina would like to tell Governor Little two things. First, “in my industry, we all went to school for training on how to disinfect and sanitize — we must follow guidelines to keep our clients safe. I’m pretty sure we have more sanitation rules than a grocery store. And,” she assures, “if you want to see social distancing between clients, my salon is more than big enough.”
Second, Tina believes that “essential means something different for everyone.” For example, Tina points out, clients with artificial nails need to keep them maintained every few weeks or they can become infected. Though closed for now, Tina continues to make appointments for the day when her salon and spa is legally allowed to re-open. One recently-made appointment was for an older client who was depressed, feeling like a prisoner in her own home. Tina adds, “People ask me if we’re going to open on the first of May, and I say I would have liked to. Every business is essential to different people.”