Excitement as more Newtownabbey businesses get ready to open

More businesses throughout Newtownabbey are preparing to open this week in keeping with a further relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

There was a welcome return to the salon for hairdressers and other close-contact services on Friday, along with the opening of outdoor visitor attractions. Driving lessons were also allowed to resume.

This Friday (April 30) sees the opening of a variety of other businesses, including outdoor hospitality, gyms and non-essential retail.

There was no doubt that appointments in hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons were in big demand as clients sought to lose their lockdown looks.

Delighted to be re-opened are the team at Karma Hair Design in Main Street, Ballyclare. From back: Libby, Erin, Hayley, Dorothy, Justine and one of their clients, Cynthia.

At Karma Hair Design in Ballyclare, there was much excitement to finally open up again for the first time since just before Christmas.

Proprietor Dorothy Taylor said: “This last lockdown has felt so much longer than the first and we are absolutely delighted to be back in the salon.

“Having your hair ‘done’ is so much more than just the physical appearance, it’s an emotional feeling of well being for so many of us.... men and women both!

“It’s a fact that many people have a strong relationship with their hairdresser and the salon chair is such a safe place to be when it comes to sharing life’s ups and downs and of course anything that’s said is in complete confidence.

Owner of The Beautician, Alison Thompson (right) with Cherylann Erkelens (part-time therapist, Rachel Smyth (trainee therapist Level 2), Rachel Ireland (senior therapist Level 3).

“We’re having to work in a very different way now and it has its challenges but the feeling is mutual when a client is close to tears with joy when she looks at her reflection in the mirror, it’s why we love what we do.

“Just knowing we can have such a positive impact on someone’s life, it’s amazing,” Dorothy added.

Alison Thompson, owner of The Beautician in Ballyclare, was equally delighted to be able to re-open her business.

“We are so excited to be open and hopefully won’t have to close again. We have had so many amazing comments from our clients of how they missed us,” she said.

Some of the first clients to enjoy the re-opening of The Beautician in Ballyclare. The salon itself has had a makeover during lockdown with fresh paintwork and a new colour scheme.

Covid-19 has made us realise how much we bring as an industry. It has made women appreciate what we do and how much they rely on our services. How they enjoy that little hour or two they spend on themselves with us every few weeks. How they appreciate their husbands for taking the children now so they can have some ‘me’ time. (before Covid often the kids came to the salon too),” she said.

Alison explained that during lockdown she has been busy giving her Main Street salon a makeover.

“It has had a fresh coat of paint from top to bottom in white and a lovely soft pink. Previously our colour scheme was cream and purple but the new look has really lifted the salon and made it feel much fresher and lighter.

“We purchased new nail station chairs to ones that would be easier to clean in a wipeable faux leather. All our trolleys have also been updated, we have ‘gone digital’ with our wax pots, and have installed screens on reception and all our nail stations.

“The staff room has also been updated with a new sleek table and chairs for easier cleaning,” she said.

“We also availed of a scheme from Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Regeneration Scheme for a sanitising station, a monitor/ tv screen (for customer bulletins), wipeable tub chairs and an awning for queuing outside.

“We also designed new client forms and a Covid questionnaire. So as you can see, we have been very busy whilst closed!” Alison added. “All in all it’s been great to have had the time to do all this to the salon but it’s even better to be back to see all the clients that we now value as friends.” added.