Southsea barber thanks key workers with half-price hair cuts
The 36-year-old shop owner said that times have been tough for his business Silky Smooth Barbers as he lost money, custom and all his staff when the coronavirus pandemic forced him to close in March.
Despite this set back, which saw his salon shut for 103 days, he is hoping to bounce back – and he is offering discounts to NHS staff and carers as a thank you for their hard work.
The dad-of-two said: ‘The lockdown had a really negative impact for my business, I lost all my staff and now I’m working alone. But I’m more excited than ever about the future and the challenges we all face.’
Andrei opened Silky Smooth Barbers, in Albert Road, Southsea in June 2017.
He has been giving free haircuts to the homeless since 2008, which even saw his community efforts honoured by The News with a We Can Do It award in 2018.
But now he says he wants to do more for those fighting the pandemic.
Andrei said he had been inspired by the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which gave diners half price meals at restaurants on Mondays, Tuesday, and Wednesdays, throughout August.
The scheme, designed to revive the hospitality sector and protect jobs, has been hailed as a success after more than 100 million meals were claimed, according to treasury figures.
Andrei said he hoped that his gesture would encourage people through his door and that people would show their support for their local barber shops too.
He said: ‘Unlike restaurants, we are not going to get any money back from the government, but I would like to help the people that are sacrificing their life and time to keeping us all healthy.’
Silky Smooth Barbers will be giving their 50 per cent haircuts exclusively for NHS and carers workers every Tuesday from September.
Andrei, who is officially recognised as a British Master Barber, said: ‘They have been fighting this virus every day for months, it’s the least we can do.
‘Unfortunately, clapping for them does not help to pay their bills. A small discount even for a haircut will help more than just a gesture, that’s for sure.
‘I think the government should step up and increase the NHS and carers staff wages for all the efforts and things that they are doing for us.’