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King of Clippers: finding the positives in a hairy situation

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It was at the height of coronavirus panic when Tony Kyriakidis made the call to shut his Essendon North barbershop, King of Clippers.

People were stockpiling toilet paper, supermarket shelves were bare, and the streets deserted.

It was also a confusing time to be a hairdresser or barber, with the government setting a 30-minute limit for hair cuts before quickly back-flipping.

“It was up and down I tell you,” Tony said.

“It was ‘yes, you can’, ‘no, you can’t’, ‘yes, you can’, ‘half an hour’, this that.”

After three weeks closed, the decision to re-open came after one too many walks around the river.

“I could not walk around the Maribyrnong River any more, I was done,” Tony laughed.

He said although things were slowly starting to get back to normal, there was a different feel in the community, with more people embracing the ‘love your local’ mantra.

“There are so many people walking past my shop on a daily basis and I’ve acknowledged them and they acknowledge me and all of a sudden they’re new clients, so it’s been good in that sense.”

After successfully applying for one of Council’s Recovery Grants, Tony is setting up an online booking system.

“The idea is to basically have no one here waiting,” he said.

“It’s better for me … I can see what I’m doing, the amount of clients that are going to be coming through my shop, plus there’s a database.

“It (also) makes things easier if there’s an outbreak I know who’s been in and out of my shop, so for safety that’s another good thing.”

For Tony, the impact of the pandemic is still real – his business is currently running at around 75 per cent – but he remains optimistic about what’s next.

“It’s moving forward … I see there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

Say hi to Tony at King of Clippers:
Shop 2/1072 Mt Alexander Road, Essendon
03 9379 8594

Our ‘Support Local’ series explores how Moonee Valley businesses are operating during the coronavirus pandemic. Tell us about your business by sending an email to media@mvcc.vic.gov.au