PEORIA - While the COVID-19 shutdown was hard for a lot of salon owners, Iris Leverett’s salon came out bigger and better on the other side.
Leverett found an opportunity to expand her business, Seven Strands Hair Salon, when the old Hair Cuttery at 8811 N. Allen Rd. closed down during the coronavirus shutdown, and today she has more than twice the number of chairs.
"We started out at 8500 N. Knoxville in the Forum building. We were there five years," Leverett said. "We hadn’t planned on moving because I had remodeled the other salon to get ready for us coming back from COVID."
The opportunity came up quickly after Leveritt began talking to Ayana Thompson, her new salon manager and the former salon manager of the Hair Cuttery.
"She paved the way for me to get into the Hair Cuttery’s building," said Leverett. "She introduced me to the Hair Cuttery’s landlords. They were the ones who offered me the salon."
They made her a good deal on rent, and since the building was already equipped with everything Leverett needed, it wasn’t long before she was able to open the doors to clients at the new location.
"I was able to turn around and get it open real quick," said Leverett. "All I had to do was come in here and alter it a little bit so it didn’t look like Hair Cuttery anymore."
Leverett, a mother of five and a stylist for more than 25 years, has run her own salon at various locations around town for about eight years. The name Seven Strands was inspired by the Bible story of Samson, whose seven locks were the source of his strength. Leverett changed the word "locks" to "strands" to represent the fact that the salon works with all hair types.
While business has been a bit slow since the shutdown, the pace has been steady, said Leverett.
All businesses that provide personal care services have to follow a strict set of guidelines issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health to help keep clients safe from COVID-19. Stylists and clients have to wear masks at all times, chairs must be set at least 6-feet apart, and surfaces that get touched must be regularly disinfected.
This has been an eventful year for Leverett, and she’s not done yet. She is in the process of adding a massage room and a waxing room to the salon, so customers can come and spend the whole day.
"We’re looking forward to the holidays, to providing services to help people keep their spirits up during this COVID time," she said.
Leslie Renken can be reached at 270-8503 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter.com/LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.