Entrepreneurs emerge from the ashes of the COVID-19 recession


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Light is clearly at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel in terms of things getting back to normal.

Deaths and hospitalizations are down and vaccinations continue to rise.

Despite increasingly improving circumstances, many Huntsville area businesses continue to suffer because of the COVID recession.

News 19 has been meeting with entrepreneurs who have suffered and nearly lost their financial livelihoods during the worst months of the pandemic.

Two women opened the Retro Lines Barber Shop and hair salon in October.

News 19 also interviewed a man who nearly lost everything and rose from the ashes of the COVID recession.

“Taking a nap and waking up from that with a dream, I woke up and I just saw the words, ‘Hair Fairy,'” said Glenn King, the Huntsville Hair Fairy. “It was the strangest thing and I knew exactly from that moment that it was that idea I had a year ago that I needed to pursue. All these things could happen so I could chase after this dream.”

King hit financial rock bottom in January when he couldn’t work because of the pandemic.

The Hairy Fairy isn’t the only Huntsville entrepreneur who pivoted and adapted during some of the toughest months of the COVID recession.

“Day to day normal grind and we woke up one day and they were like, ‘hey we’re going to be closed for two weeks,’ and it was a very scary two weeks which turned into two and a half months,” said Taylor Ratz, Retro Lines co-owner. “My husband and I both woke up unemployed.”

The COVID-19 recession stripped Ratz of her job in 2020.

Ratz and her mom, who’s a barber, opened Retro Lines in October.

“Retro Lines was born thanks to COVID,” Ratz said.

The self-proclaimed pinup hair stylist says people thought her and her mom were crazy for opening a brick and mortar business in October.

“Really a lot of it was luck,” she said. “Her and I were on the same page. We found this location. It was kind of a do or die. Now’s our chance to take it and so we did and we opened up six weeks later.”

Danta Simonsen is the salon’s barber.

“We definitely think outside the box,” Simonsen said. “There’s nowhere else like this in Huntsville. We are very much all inclusive. We can do everything from hot towel shaves and fades to fabulous colors.”

Adapting and a little bit of luck are all what King, Ratz and Simonsen say helped them transform a negative situation into an opportunity.

“COVID isn’t going to stop us from doing the things we need to do,” Simonsen said. “It’s not going to stop us from opening businesses and keeping them open. It’s not going to stop us from supporting each other and make sure that we can all get through this situation.”

Glenn King, the Huntsville Hair Fairy, can be found on Instagram by name.

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