Editor’s note: The Aspen Daily News recently introduced this new feature, Roaring Back to Life, to highlight local businesses and organizations that have transformed themselves in the wake of COVID-19. To be spotlighted, email intern Cara Chang at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Name of organization: Ajax Salon & Spa
Years in business: 1.5
Address: 710 E. Durant Ave., Unit W-7, Aspen
Phone number: 970-452-2106
Number of Employees: Six
Aspen Daily News: What need do you fulfill in the community?
Jennifer Eis, owner: We are a team of the most talented hair stylists and manicurists in this valley that I have ever worked with. Each of us specialize in bringing out the inner beauty in every client to help them look and feel their best. We also recharge our clients with positive energy and enjoy their contribution to the Zenful environment we all create.
ADN: What do you love most about operating a business in the Roaring Fork Valley?
JE: I love the collaboration of talented and professional technicians at Ajax Salon that have come together to create one of the best salons I have ever worked at. I couldn’t have handpicked a better crew. We love the family we have created and the positive feedback we get for the environment we create on a daily basis. I enjoy being surrounded by our kind and caring clients who all help make our salon thrive and keep the high energy flowing. We have a lot of fun and really appreciate what we have created.
ADN: How are you reacting to the new business climate?
KC: It honestly has been extremely hard work to put everything together and adapt to all the safety rules. We go above and beyond the basic guidelines and make sure we meet all the better business practices that aren’t necessarily mandatory but important to us as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and community health department requirements. We just want to create the most healthy, sterile and virus-free environment for all the technicians and clients who are working hard to respect our guidelines and also need to get back on their feet and back to work.
ADN: How have your consumers adapted to this new normal?
JE: Some are very respectful and others have challenges. We work very hard to keep the salon a safe environment for all involved; we are fortunate that so many respect our very strict mask-wearing policies and guidelines.
ADN: Have you sought federal, state or local aid?
JE: Yes, absolutely. I’m not independently wealthy and the rent and business expenses in the Aspen core are unbelievable. My costs have increased significantly as well with new cleaning product costs and shipping increases. I have tried every avenue of assistance as I feel responsible to help keep my technicians’ rent as low as possible during times like these. Each of us have unique situations that need to be considered. Moreover, I believe that we should all have decency before greed, so I’m giving back for whatever is passed on to me as the owner to get us all through this situation, including trying to avoid increasing client costs.
ADN: What, if any, collaborations are you seeking in the local business community or with bodies like the Aspen Chamber Resort Association?
JE: I built my business on referrals, so I have always been a huge believer that everyone should network in order to help each other grow in our special community. So I will continue to network and refer out all the talent we can. I hope that the economy can stay afloat. I hope the city of Aspen can keep helping people and businesses the way they have been. We are so lucky to live in such a protected and loved little town.
With coronavirus on the rise, most of us locals feel that we would like to see the city unify us all and mandate that all visitors quarantine for two weeks before going out into the community, especially with the packed flights and rising numbers of community spread. None of the Aspen locals can afford to stay at home and have another lockdown.
ADN: What do you need to make it through the season?
JE: I’m just trying to take this one day at a time and have decency over greed or scarcity. I can’t help but believe that the right answers will always be there when times get tough and you need them. I also have been through a lot that has taught me to be strong and that, no matter how bad things have been in my life, my basic needs were always met. So all of us at Ajax will continue to work hard and save and prepare for what looks like a rough fall ahead.
ADN: What does the future hold?
JE: No one really knows. I guess that’s the hardest part: the uncertainty. Although I always feel it’s best not to borrow trouble from the past.
ADN: What is your favorite thing to do when you are not managing your business?
JE: I love the outdoors. Anything outside and I’m in. I especially love camping and overnight trips hanging out on the water. The snow, lakes, rivers, ponds and streams are where my heart lies. I’m a Coloradan native so I don’t really know anything else. Throw in a beach and I’m in heaven.