Cast your mind back a year. There was strife on the High Street, shops closing, a swing to e-commerce and pubs were closing at an alarming rate. Buried in the news was one story that broke the trend. A huge number of barber shops were opening.
Now we live during the horrific situation that these new ventures are moth balled just as they started to establish their customer base. Once a positive sign of the entrepreneurial spirit of people who wanted to make a living in the face of High Street carnage, these individual barber shops were springing up everywhere – alongside nail bars. They were safe, e-commerce and the big chains couldn’t touch them. They were the epitome of the next generation of the British ‘nation of shopkeepers’ as Napoleon once described us.
And then the China virus happened. The lights went out on a nation whose hair continued to grow, and fledgling businesses had to watch as their customer base disappeared. A pent up demand may exist which could see a stampede once the lights go back on. The tragedy is after one haircut we will be back to normal, the golden locks patiently grown during the lockout will be shorn in one go. Those weekly, fortnightly or monthly visits missed like so many others businesses during the lockdown lost forever.
On a more positive note, the fate of the large multi store brand on the High Street may be in decline and an opportunity for the small one-off individualist shops to reappear. Giving a livelihood to workers on full-time non-gig basis could reinvigorate the metamorphosis of the High Street.