Atlanta salon opens outdoor space for clients in wake of pandemic

Steve Hightower has been cutting hair at his Lindbergh Way salon for 25 years, but he's only recently moved some of his clients outside.

"When COVID hit and everybody started talking about curbside service and doing everything outside, I just had the idea of why don't I come outside, fix up the old deck and make it a space for the clients that want to come outside?" Hightower explained.

So, he took what was a rarely used patio area at Steve Hightower Hair Salon and Day Spa and transformed it into an outdoor salon. Hightower pressure washed the deck, hung some large, original paintings, and set up three outdoor stations.

"There's nothing like being outside in the fresh air," he said.

Hightower said in addition to wearing masks, sanitizing between clients, and frequent hand washing, the outdoor space offers customers another way to feel comfortable.

"I really feel that all my clients are trusting us and they tell me that they feel safer here than at the grocery store. So, to me that's a thumbs up," said Hightower.

Margaret Gunn has gone to Hightower for haircuts for two decades and said she appreciated him going the extra mile to protect people.

"I think any time we can be outside, obviously, it's safer if we can be outside and I think it's great that Steve has made this space available," Gunn explained.

With the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Georgia and across the country, Hightower said he hopes the space could offer a solution if another shutdown happens.

"Right now, there is some concern among all of us hairdressers that with COVID rising that it might shut down again and that really would be devastating to a lot of businesses," said Hightower. "So, I feel that we might could go and say, 'Look, we're doing some hair outside. Can we?'"

Hightower said he plans to keep the outdoor space operational year-round and clients simply need to specify that they would like an outdoor appointment when they schedule.