Local hair salon defies odds; experiences growth during COVID

Tribeca Salons of Hillsborough County

Tribeca Salons of Hillsborough CountyCOVID-19 impacted many businesses in a lot of ways. For high-contact businesses like hair salons, dealing with COVID-19 meant facing adversity like never before. Brandon Wagner, owner of Tribeca Salons in Tampa and Ybor City, saw it as an opportunity to expand his business in a new way.

“It was very difficult because we were shut down completely for two solid months,” he said. “When we were able to reopen, we were only at 50 percent capacity. I had to branch off to create an e-commerce site. The SBDC helped me navigate creating that website and taught me the best way to actually run it.”

Not only did the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida help Wagner pivot to new technology, they also helped guide him through effective safety protocols for staff and clients, and helped Wagner navigate the disaster funding process, which resulted in Wagner securing a Paycheck Protection Program loan.

“I turn to SBDC for really quality advice on how to help me grow my business. Without their guidance, it would have been very difficult for us to reopen correctly and actually understand how to deal with both our client safety and also with our employee safety,” he said.

Wagner explained that the Florida SBDC at USF has been instrumental to his business, even before COVID. During his one-on-one no-cost consultations with various business consultants, he sought assistance regarding his website design, SEO management, and financing.

As his business continues to grow, he wants to continue his relationship with the Florida SBDC at USF regarding franchising opportunities.

“We have just opened up our third location and I’m about to navigate renegotiating leases for my two other properties that we’ve been in for over 15 years,” he said. “I am potentially looking at franchising or potentially looking into opening up a school.”

Tribeca Salons already has experience in cultivating an atmosphere of education and development at his salons. They provide professional license services and offer an apprenticeship program. “Everyone comes to me out of beauty school and trains with us for a year before we put them on the floor,” he said. “That allows us to provide a certain level of quality control in what we offer the public.”

Wagner recommends other business owners reach out to the Florida SBDC at USF for any assistance they may need regarding their business. He explained that the process has been a learning experience because every meeting he had to present something different, which helped him analyze various areas of his business he hadn’t considered before.

“Working with SBDC at USF has been such a wonderful gift,” he said. “It’s a complimentary service and every single person I have talked to has always been extremely helpful and very open about advice. For myself, it’s been limitless and I think that the advice has just been really wonderful for me to help me grow my business further.”