“Beard is looking shaggy. When are you going to reopen?” one of Thigpen’s clients posted on Facebook.
“My phone has been blowing up,” said Thigpen, the owner of Thig’s Diamond Kutz in downtown Hutto. “It’s been crazy.”
However, despite a high demand from clients, Thigpen said he will not reopen his barber shop May 8.
With only three days between the governor’s announcement—which included new rules such as a limit of one customer per stylist, using an appointment-only system, maintaining 6 feet of separation between stations, and ensuring both the stylist and customer wear face masks—Thigpen said he needed more time to prepare.
“I want to make sure that when we do open, we’re comfortable with opening,” Thigpen said. “That’s the key to it—every business should think about opening when they feel comfortable—when you’re able to make sure that you’re safe and the customer is safe and everything is in proper order.”
Part of the delay is due to slow supply lines, Thigpen said. He has ordered supplies such as gloves and masks, but these items have been delayed due to high demand and slow shipping times, he said. At this time, barring no further supply delays, Thigpen said he hopes to reopen May 12.
When Thigpen became a licensed barber over 20 years ago, he knew he was entering a profession where cleanliness was paramount, he said.
“Sanitation is the No. 1 priority in our industry,” Thigpen said. “You have to take that seriously and really have to be on top of your game in terms of sanitizing your tools—clippers, combs, sheers. We are adamant about that.”
Though he has been out of work for nearly two months, Thigpen said he is in no rush to reopen.
“I’m not really concerned with the money,” Thigpen said. “I’m concerned with safety. If you don’t properly prepare your business, you run a risk. Our strategy is to be prepared.”
Thig’s Diamond Kutz offers haircut options and styles for men, women and children, as well as beard trims, razor shaves and hair washes.
In accordance with Abbott’s rules, Thigpen said his clients should expect new procedures when the shop reopens. Customers will receive a contactless temperature check upon arrival. To avoid gatherings of people, the waiting area will not be in use at this time. While walk-ins will still be accepted, the walk-in customer will then make an appointment and return at that scheduled time. Barbers will wear disposable gloves and masks during each service.
“We want to ensure a free flow of traffic, no one really waiting in the shop,” Thigpen said. “It will be a contactless type of experience but still professional.”
Throughout the shop’s closure, Thigpen said he has enjoyed the opportunity to spend more time with his family.
“It’s been tough, but it was actually a blessing in a way, too,” Thigpen said. “As a barber, I spend a lot of time at the shop and not enough time at home. The blessing behind it was really getting into that role of home, being able to help my wife out, help my kids with their homework.”
He also pointed to the supportive community surrounding him through it all.
“The community that supports the shop stepped up a whole lot—some buying gift cards, some calling to check on me,” Thigpen said. “When times are tough, when bad things happen, you really know who is there for you.”