After losing three jobs, she's back at work
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After losing three jobs, she's back at work

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Susan Hurtz lost three jobs to the COVID-19 pandemic, and her employment picture didn’t seem much brighter earlier this month.

She was like so many people in Kenosha County who had lost jobs without much immediate hope of returning to them soon or generating an income.

Hurtz, the single mother of a 15-year-old son, operates a franchise beauty salon and had not received any unemployment benefits though she had applied several weeks ago.

She did receive a stimulus check but still was falling behind financially.

“I’ve been running out of resources,” Hurtz said. “I have been taking it one day at a time. It’s been up and down.”

Hurtz estimates she has lost more than $7,500 in revenue from the business shutdown. Her other jobs as a part-time bartender and as a substitute teacher were also wiped out by the coronavirus crisis.

However, over the past few weeks, she has earned a certificate as a barberside sylist, allowing her to teach barber and hair styling courses.

Hurtz’s plight had eased of recently when it was announced that hair salons could reopen. Still, she remained a bit apprehensive because doing so required additional expenses.

Operating her Hair by Susan business within the Sola Salon Studios in the Southport Plaza shopping center at 6920 Green Bay Road required Hurtz to pay rent for the space and purchase hair supplies, accessories and new equipment. Additionally, she needs a steady supply of sanitizers and masks.

“I had to order extra hair color, shampoo and all,” Hurtz said.

At first, Hurtz nervously contemplated how and when she would open. Hurtz said she wasn’t ready mentally for what was to be her new normal.

“I’ll have to build in extra cleaning time,” she said, referring to how she would schedule her appointments. “I also had to figure out how to do their hair with a mask that has loops behind their ears.”

Since there is no waiting area, Hurtz must meet clients at the door and escort them to the suite she shares with another stylist.

She expected to have a slow opening last Thursday with just close friends and family, but she was pleasantly surprised that many of her clients had already booked.

“Customers have been happy to get in. They came in wearing their masks,” Hurtz said. “They have been very generous. They are making up for lost time.”

Hurtz was booked through the holiday weekend and into this week. She expects to put in some long days, but doing hair is a labor of love.

“I miss being around people,” she said.

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