Shortly after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a mandate that all bars and restaurants would close to dining-in guests due to concerns surround COVID-19, Charles and Debra Penzone made the bold move to voluntarily close the doors of their six PENZONE Salons + Spas, their Royal Rhino Club Barbershop & Lounge and their LIT Life + Yoga Studio surrounding Columus, Ohio.
“For the last year, we’ve been working to create a culture of care at Charles Penzone Incorporated. To truly live this approach, we’ve decided to close our salons and spas, barbershop and yoga studio effective Monday, March 16,” said the Penzones in a media statement. “We are monitoring the constantly changing novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) situation; at this time, it is our hope to resume normal business on Monday, March 30th. Over the next several days, our guest service team will be working (safely + healthfully) to help guests reschedule appointments. At the end of the day, ensuring the safety of our team members, their families and our guests is what’s most important.”
The Penzones decided to make the move despite the fact they have not had a single case reported that affected anyone in their guest or staff communities. “We just followed the governor’s lead on the restaurant and bar decision, we just thought it was the right thing to do,” Debra says. “Health experts recommend social distancing to help prevent spread of the disease, and we just felt that you can’t effectively practice social distancing in this industry.”
Since they posted the decision on social media, the Penzones say they have received a tremendous amount of feedback from both their staff and their clients, who are applauding their decision. Their phones also have been ringing from salons across the country. “Everyone has been telling us they’ve been having their best business year ever, but this is just one of those disasters you can’t prevent, and every day it’s changing so fast,” Debra says. “We’re all in this together and we’ll need to weather it together.”
While the Penzones have plans to meet with their team today, they are already brainstorming ideas to help them face the economic hardship ahead. “We’ve been in talks with our accountant, lawyer and banker. We already offer our team paid vacation time and we’ll tell them to leverage that to continue getting paid during the mandatory shutdown,” Debra says. “We’re also looking into the umemployment benefits our governor is offering small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.”
Debra says this crisis reminds them of the recession economy of 2008 when salons of all sizes shared ideas for boosting business while taking a hard look at the things they needed to give up to weather challenging times. “We’ll be challenging our team to come up with ideas of what we can do to support them and our clients,” Debra says. “For example, we’re thinking about an online gift card special that lets our clients show love to their favorite artists, prepaying for their services when they do come back. And, we’re reaching out to our distributor to see how we can get products into the hands of our consumers that need them while we’re closed.”
What the couple does feel fortunate about is their PENZONE One App that was in place to communicate with team members. “Our team knows this is the one place where all information goes, and in times like this it’s been very powerful to have such a fast and efficient communication tool,” Debra says.