Over the past several days, a historic flood in Louisiana is responsible for eight deaths and more than 11,000 people losing their homes and businesses. Flooding is expected to continue to worsen as rivers continue to rise and crest.
While Neill Corporation, an Aveda distributor which also is the parent company of SalonBiz and Paris Parker Salons and Spas, was spared any damage at its headquarters in Hammond, Louisiana, they quickly are working to help employees whose homes were impacted, as well as other salons in the area that have suffered devastating damage.
The nearby community of Denham Springs, Louisiana, experienced flooding to 90 percent of its residents and businesses, and Paris Parker is opening its doors to stylists in the affected areas by letting them work out of its own locations until their salons reopen. Six stylists from Salon Rogue, owned by Samantha Babin, already have taken up temporary residence at the Jefferson-Baton Rouge location of Paris Parker located approximately 15 miles away.
Paris Parkers’ Leigh Doody, director of operations, and Desiree Plyler Lotz, operations administrator, are working tirelessly to get dislocated stylists preserve their incomes by getting them up and working as quickly as possible.
A cell phone shot of Salon Rouge in the midst of the flood.
While Salon Rogue’s software management system and client database were submerged and couldn’t be retrieved, the salon also used Demandforce, an automated marketing and communication software. Plyler-Lotz and Doody were able to work with Demandforce to recreate the salon’s client database and get the word out that the stylists had a new temporary location. With the help of the salon team, they were able to get into the salon’s Facebook and post an announcement, and Paris Parker front desk team members are busy calling clients with pending appointments.
Plyler-Lotz also worked closely with Salon Rogue’s accountant to create a menu of service options in SalonBiz that are different than the service Paris Parker offers. “We’re trying to make the transition as easy as possible,” she says.
While many of the stylists lost their tools in the flood, Doody and Plyler Lotz are working with R Session Pro Tools in securing donations or discounts. And, Michael Baker, Neill’s creative director and the founder of the The Second Hand Scissors Project is checking his collection of donated shears to see what may be provided to the dislocated stylists.
Colorist Christy Foster’s son, Gage, helps the team drop off donations after school.
“When salons call to offer help, we’re asking them to donate to the Salon/Spa Relief Fund or they can buy a tool kit to help a team member in need get back working as soon as possible,” Doody says.
"On behalf of the Neill Family and businesses, it is our purpose and privilege to support those that support us…rain or shine," says Debra Neill Baker, principal of Neill Corporation. "I have a mantra…if you can, you should. Helping our staff, our community, our customers, and our industry continues to be at the core of who we are."
While Neill Corporation continues to work identifying affected salons and displaced stylists, it is accepting donations to The Salon and Spa Relief Fund, a non-profit organization that was founded after Hurricane Katrina to help salon and spa owners and their employees rebuild their lives and businesses following natural disasters. To find out how you can help, visit salonandsparelieffund.org.
The Salon and Spa Relief Fund uses Paris Parker (Mandeville, LA) as a donation center.
Quotes that are coming in about the Louisiana flooding:
“Things have gotten so crazy out here and I appreciate your support and just wanted to tell you how grateful I am to work for such an amazing company that truly cares about others. Thankfully my home wasn't impacted by the flooding although I haven't been able to make it in to the salon due to all of the surrounding areas being flooded. Today my sister and I were able to get out and bring donations to shelters and to some people who lost everything. Truly a humbling experience to see people sleeping in cots in churches with all that they have left.”—Kacy Reyolds, Paris Parker
“What you are doing with the flood assistance is outstanding. I would expect nothing less though from a family that have always seen the value of people. The lessons I learned with you and Edwin (Neill) are some I still try and pass along to stylists I cross paths with.” –Samantha, a former Neill employee
“You guys are always lifting the community up and now to see this just makes my soul smile for all that you are helping! It takes a village..”—Tony Drake
“Thank you for your help! I have had more messages and calls and offers for help from Neill than I have from my own friends. I don’t know what my husband and I will come out of this with, but your help is appreciated and will never be forgotten.”—Nicole Bice