BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Many salons have had to close their doors this past year. But one salon is rising to the challenge of COVID restrictions and growing its business.
After 20 years serving the Bakersfield community, Panache, a Mark Lamas salon, is moving to downtown Bakersfield.
“I knew other businesses in town felt like I was going under because a lot of them are scared that they’re going to have to close also,” said Mark Lamas, the owner of Panache. “I wasn’t going to fail because this man don’t fail.”
Panache first opened near moo creamery with only four hair stylist chairs. It’s continued to grow over the years, but it’s progress halted when COVID hit.
“We had no more opportunity at the last salon, other than keeping four chairs closed down and not being able to hire more staff. I was like, okay we need a change, we need to do something.”
The governor’s stay at home orders this past year had panache and many other salons in hot water.
“Everyone has to be withdrawn from each other and that’s so difficult on top of financial stuff,” said Jamie Sparks, an esthetician at the salon. “Places that stayed open and clients went to them instead of us, it was just really overwhelming.”
So Lamas took out a few loans and got to work – designing a larger space alongside Truxtun Avenue.
“I love a busy salon,” Lamas said. “And this way we can have that and still be separated and still be safe.”
His decision came at the right time for his employees. Many of whom were eager to return to work.
“When he said he was going to open this, it’s almost a new light at the end of the tunnel,” Sparks said. “And it gives us a lot of hope that things can still build and grow in this community, especially in this industry.”
Lamas says Panache will open at the Truxtun Avenue location on March 8th, with a ribbon cutting hosted by Mayor Karen Goh.