Small Business Shoutout: PAINT Nail Bar St. Louis
Photo By Whitney Cole
When the pandemic was officially declared, like so many people, I was confused, scared, and shocked. I was focused on my family and making sure we were doing everything we could to stay safe. I felt like all I did was watch the news and look for updates on social media. While scrolling through social media posts, I started seeing some of my favorite local businesses reinventing their selves: offering curbside pickup, offering contactless delivery, offering virtual camps/sessions/activities/training, and offering at-home care packages.
A lot of these businesses are owned by people I'm proud to call friends. Some are owned by complete strangers to me, but I see friends of mine supporting them. Some are owned by people who I've been introduced to via social media and some are owned by people I met when I worked in radio. One thing that is consistent with all of these people, they have grit, determination, and compassion.
I couldn't keep scrolling through the social media posts and not do something. So, I started reaching out to various business owners to see if they wanted to share their story. The story you and I don't know, but we should know. Being a business owner is stressful in itself, but then you have to shut down (in some way or another) because of a pandemic ... stress is understatement. I wanted to give these business owners a voice. The general public needs to know the inner workings of a small business. My hope is after reading some of the thoughts and stories from these business owners, a little more compassion will be had by everyone on the outside looking in.
Every Friday, I plan to feature a small business in a "Small Business Shoutout" feature. I would like to start with Whitney Cole, owner of PAINT Nail Bar St. Louis.
Whitney Cole, Owner of PAINT Nail Bar St. Louis
The following are Whitney's thoughts:
March 17th. Our last day officially in business before closing. The last 10 weeks were filled with the roller coaster of emotions that I am sure everyone felt. We’ve felt shock, love, support, fear, and kindness. We began the journey of opening this business over 2.5 years ago. I could not shake the idea of opening PAINT after I saw a coming soon sign while visiting Texas! It was everything I was looking for in a nail salon and I knew I couldn’t be the only one! This became a dream and we have been determined to bring it to life. Fast forward and we put it all on the line, really. September 2019 came and we officially opened our doors. Throughout the whole process we felt we had did a really great job of “preparing for the worst”. We mapped out so many different situations that could potentially be devastating to our business. I can see the humor now, but do you know what we forgot? Global pandemic. ;)
Well we are a new business, not even a year in and we close our doors. We voluntarily shut down for 2 weeks, and of course we all know what happened next…two weeks became 2 months and then some. I get it. And I know the end result is to help the greater picture. But as a young family with 2 little kids and everything on the line, there was some stress. Obviously a nail salon is part of the service industry. No service, no income. Day one of being closed we mapped out plan after plan on a giant whiteboard of what we could do. Many of those ideas were erased as more restrictions and stay at home orders began to unfold. We would be finding ways to pay rent, without making an income. We have a team of the most amazing and talented girls counting on us, our kids counting on us, and we were counting on ourselves to not let 2 years of work be over. We kept saying over and over, “We have not come this far to have this be the end”. I am sure that was a feeling rippling through so many of our fellow small businesses. While we did talk with our landlord we also knew that they had bills to pay too. It definitely is a time where the phrase “we are in this together” could not ring more true. That honestly gave me a weird sense of peace. I knew that we were struggling but not struggling alone.
As weird as it may seem, I felt like I was going through the stages of grief. Shock, denial, anger, acceptance etc. Luckily though, the Grief for what we worked so hard for turned into this fire for what we were fighting for. On top of this, we are juggling another business, a full-time job, and homeschooling. Thankfully our school district was very understanding and laid back about everything going on so that took some of the pressure off. The last two years I have been working hard on mindset. From podcasts to books to conferences. I absolutely fell in love with it all. Well, throw in a pandemic and my mindset was challenged more than it ever has been. It was like the shock wore off, and now came reality. Looking back though, I am so glad to have felt all the feelings I did. I really do feel It’s healthy to be able to go through the motions and emotions of everything going on.
While we were closed we made sure to get all of our procedures and safety protocols in place as well as build dividers and shields for around the salon.
Photo by Whitney Cole
Of course there were restrictions but being able to safely reopen for our staff and clients, we have been happy to comply. St. Louis is truly the best. The days that seemed more stressful than others I would receive random texts or social media messages of support and people sharing our page and all of those little acts of kindness have truly meant the world. We are excited to be reopened in a safe way and seeing the girls be creative and doing amazing nails has been the best. I missed them all so much and they are truly family to us. We are so grateful for each and every client that has felt comfortable to come see us. We cannot say thank you enough for each and every person who has shown us so much kindness and support not only through this, but since September. There is still a long road ahead but we are all in this together.
PAINT Nail Bar St. Louis contact information:
Monday 10AM–7PM Tuesday 10AM–7PM
Products and Services: go.booker.com
Address: 18 The Blvd, Richmond Heights, MO 63117