When it was announced that hairdressers and barbers would finally be allowed to open from Wednesday, Frances Anderson’s phone began to ring off the hook.
So the owner of Giffnock Barbers, in East Renfrewshire, decided to go to extreme lengths to meet demand from customers desperate for their first professional haircut in four months.
She will reopen her shop at 12:01am on Wednesday morning, and it will not close for a solid 24 hours.
“I’d seen that in New Zealand when things started to open up there some businesses started at one minute past midnight, so that’s where the idea came from,” the 40-year-old said.
“We were talking about it in passing, and a couple of the girls said straight away ‘we’ll do it’ and it just grew from there. We’re going to be really busy, it’s booked up until 3am just now, then from 6am onwards through to the next night.”
A shift system has been worked out to prevent tiredness affecting the barbers’ work. Two will do a midnight to 7:30am shift, before two others take over until around 5pm. The two early morning workers will then return for a second shift, and work through until midnight. A prime slot - 8am until 10am - has been set aside for key workers and senior citizens.
Ms Anderson, who started working at the shop in her early 20s and took over the business around 15 years ago, said: “We won’t have anyone working for 24 hours, can you imagine the haircuts? We haven’t heard of many others doing this, my family thinks I'm crazy, but we’re a really busy shop and most of our customers are all regular so we want to take care of them.”
However, those turning up for an appointment in the early hours will not be offered a coffee to help them stay awake. Under safety guidelines issued to the sector by the Scottish Government last week, offering hot drinks has been banned with “water on request” the only refreshments permitted.
“We just wanted to get everyone back as quickly as possible,” Ms Anderson said. “It’s been really tough for us as a business, especially as we had just shut for a renovation before lockdown. So we haven’t really been working since February.
“It’s going to be a bit strange, we obviously had magazines and toys for the kids so that’s all had to be taken away. But all the staff are really excited. It’s more than a business to me, it’s like a wee home and our customers are lovely, so we can’t wait to get back.”