THE aptly dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ is less than a month away, and staff at Roxy Barbers in Carbrook are counting down the days until they can finally operate unrestricted.
Originally based in Ashton, the popular establishment opened the new branch two months ago after owner Kerry Mortin, 42, moved home with her young family.
She said: “We first opened the business in Ashton in 2006, and we’ve built up a very loyal customer base in the local area over the past 15 or so years.
“I moved to the Carbrook area about 14 months ago, but I started to realise that travelling to the Ashton shop every day, especially with my kids to look after, was becoming impractical.
“It was a tough decision for me to move the business but I felt it was one I needed to make, but I was so worried that my customers would think I was abandoning them.
“But everyone has been so supportive and quite a few people have followed me to the new shop, which is amazing. Meeting all those amazing people is why I love doing what I do.”
Despite the havoc caused by coronavirus, one thing it allowed Kerry to do was make the move from Ashton to Carbrook with minimal disruption, and her new shop opened on May 4.
She said: “Because of the lockdown restrictions, it did give us time to scope out the right location and get everything decorated. Had we not been closed, it would’ve been a very drastic move.
“Our old shop is still open, at least for the time being, but I am very happy with how everything has gone with the new place and I do think it will start to gain traction in the area.
“When we were looking, I couldn’t see that many other barbers here in Carbrook, if any at all, and that further encouraged me to make the move while I had the chance.”
As well as retaining a sizeable chunk of her existing customers, Kerry was delighted to see plenty of new faces popping in once she had settled into her new home.
It is a welcome turnaround after 18 months of worry and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, during which time, she admits, every day was a challenge.
Kerry said: “All of the ups and downs we’ve had since the first lockdown have been very stressful.
Not knowing if we could open, or if we could open what kind of restrictions we’d have to work to.
“We have been very lucky in that we’ve received quite a few grants over the last year which have helped tide us over, but we still felt isolated and you still worry about the finances regardless.
“What I have noticed is that quite a few of our older customers haven’t come back to us, either because they’ve been told to isolate or because they’re scared to go out.
“I can’t blame them, but at the same time it’s very sad. I am confident that things will pick up, though. We’ve already seen some very encouraging signs.”