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Pandemic blamed for more salon struggles across Ohio

Salon staff shortages
Posted at 6:07 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 19:49:51-05

CLEVELAND — The number of Ohio licensed cosmetologists and barbers back at work after the pandemic shut down salons and barber shops across the state has dropped by double digits.

The Executive Director of the Ohio Salon Association said 26% of cosmetologists and barbers have not renewed their licenses.

"In the state of Ohio, we’ve got over 80,000 cosmetology licensees that includes the cosmetologist, the full license, hair designers, estheticians and nails techs. When you are looking at a quarter of those fewer in the workplace, that’s an important number,” said Tony Fiore.

“We also have around 8,400 barbers across the state so, a quarter of those less renewing is a problem,” said Fiore.

Agape Organic Salon in Broadview Heights opened just months before the pandemic shut salons down across the state.

“We opened and closed five months later, “said Agape owner Kathleen Stanley.

The salon survived the shutdown and is now thriving, but Stanley faces another challenge.

“The demand is really high right now; the problem is we can’t find staff. We have ads out on Indeed, social media, we’ve offered referral incentives for our staff,“ said Stanley.

Stanley is not alone; salon owners across the state are finding it difficult to hire workers.

Lorie Cathcart owns five Great Clips salons across Northeast Ohio.

“Two of my salons are really close to being fully staffed and those are the two busiest salons. My smaller salons, the ones in smaller towns, are actually the ones suffering the most from staffing issues,” said Cathcart.

Stanley is looking at ways to entice potential workers.

“We’re looking into health care options, paying more, trying to be competitive,” said Stanley.

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