Giving someone a haircut is like providing them a fresh start, and after an uncertain year for beauty professionals, local owner of Panache A Mark Lamas Salon, Mark Lamas, decided to start anew himself.
“At the other shop, I was just tired, and it was harder and harder to stay in business,” Lamas said.
But Lamas did stay in business. Lamas has been cutting hair in Bakersfield for 30 years.
Monday afternoon, he cut a ribbon alongside City of Bakersfield’s Mayor, Karen Goh and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, welcoming clients to the new and more spacious Panache location on Truxtun Avenue after 18 years on Empire Drive.
“On Empire Drive, we were really close together, like maybe four feet apart,” Lamas said.
So Lamas jumped on the chance to take this 2000 sq ft. location, that allows for more social distancing, when it popped up just a couple weeks ago.
Before you walk in the modern, desert-style space, Lamas said you’ll see the COVID-19 protocols listed, your temperature is checked, sanitizers are at the ready, and you'll sign a COVID-19 form.
“It’s not just clients. It’s also people that work here who have children, husbands, and wives,” Lamas said. “So, I want to make sure they feel safe as well.”
Through the series of shutdowns and reopenings, it was federal loans and city grants that helped Lamas and Panache stylists stay afloat.
“I never expected that I’d have to look for resources just to eat. I couldn’t have anybody in the salon. So having a blackout for almost four months about killed me,” Lamas said. “So, learning to work with the government and getting subsidies from these opportunities really helped.”
Mayor Goh, who Lamas said helped his salon stay knowledgeable on protocols openings and grants, actually is a Panache client herself.
"It's a place where we can all feel beautiful and feel cared for, and during a time like COVID, where we face so many challenges, having a place of beauty is wonderful," Mayor Goh said.
You can find the new location at 3500 Truxtun Ave, on the corner of Westwind Drive and Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield.