As part of its Canadian Business Resilience Network campaign, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, through the generosity of Salesforce (NYSE:CRM), provided 62 small Canadian businesses with $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts during these unprecedented times. What follows the story of The Beauty Barn in Brantford, Ontario, one of the businesses that received a grant.
“Being out in the country has its own set of challenges to get your business noticed when it’s not in a highly trafficked area like most spas,” said owner Corrie Gallant. “I think we have done a good job via social media and have community support. We have had a successful start. But all that came to a halt when COVID-19 shut us down for just about three months.”
The Beauty Barn is a country spa, salon and boutique that is based in a renovated barn. The business offers their services to immune-compromised individuals as well as the general public. As the salon and spa industry relies on face-to-face and full contact services, The Beauty Barn was hit hard and had to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We chose to close the spa once we were informed of the health concerns and also because we have high-risk employees (pregnant women, mothers of young children and those taking care of aging or ill parents),” explained Gallant. “The safety of our staff and clients was our number one priority and we were the first spa in our town to close.”
Closing their doors has led to many financial burdens as the spa offers laser and facial services that require expensive machinery leased by The Beauty Barn; continuing to make payments has been tough.
“Being in the industry as a second-generation spa owner the one thing I never waver on is keeping our standards high,” said Gallant. “Even knowing we made the safest decision it was a hard decision because of the financial risk.”
As Ontario enters new phases of reopening, The Beauty Barn has had to deal with financial expenses that are coupled with reopening protocols. This includes sourcing and securing such items as personal protective equipment.
“We will be opening the doors to our immune-compromised clients first,” explained Gallant. “We’ve decided to do this before opening to the public to give those clients a chance to receive services in the cleanest and safest environment.”
The Beauty Barn is looking to use the CBRN grant to invest in an outdoor bunkie space where private services can be done one-on-one in a space that can be easily disinfected and ensure that clients are kept safe.
“With a bunkie not only could we provide services, we could also expand on the small events that we already host, eventually moving into overnight accommodations as a unique spa retreat and glamping opportunity,” said Gallant. “The goal would be to give our clients a variety of private spaces to enjoy their services and/or to offer a wellness style event that would be good for their mind and body!”
The Beauty Barn has been supporting local businesses and their community through hosting one of their main events called “Awakening to Better Beauty”. This event takes place annually and is free for women going through cancer treatments.
“The women are nominated by the nurses in the Brant Community Healthcare system oncology department,” said Gallant. “We have over 35 volunteers from other local businesses and the women have lunch provided, receive hair, make-up and massage services. Volunteer photographers and videographers capture the women’s day and family photos. Each woman is also treated to gift bags filled with donations from likeminded local wellness-related businesses.”
With the CBRN grant, The Beauty Barn hopes to be able to continue the Awakening to Better Beauty event in a safe, COVID-19-friendly way.
To learn more about the CBRN Small Business Relief Fund and see the full list of award recipients, visit the Small Business Relief Fund page.