Upscale beauty salon in Oro serves fewer customers after Sendong

DECEMBER is the most profitable month for U-Salon, an upscale beauty and wellness center in Cagayan de Oro.

But not last year.

During that month, Tropical Storm Sendong destroyed thousands of families' homes and damaged the city's main water and power lines.

As a result, the number of customers who made it to their salon appointments fell, said the salon manager, who refused to be identified.

The salon's walk-in clients also declined, especially after it took days before they secured a steady supply of water.

Instead of being a month for increased earnings, the salon booked sales losses of five to ten percent compared to the previous month, the manager said.

However, on December 17, a day after the storm struck, it was business as usual.

A customer who had her nails done was the only client who showed up but that hardly mattered for the shop.

"We’re already happy with just one client that day, considering that people are still suffering from the effects of Sendong. Those who have booked themselves for different services also backed out upon learning that we don’t have water and electricity supply. This is true for our competitors who even had to close operations for two to three days,” the source told Sun.Star.

The salon’s junior assistant and senior stylist, who both lived in the same house in Bonbon village, were also not spared by Sendong as their belongings were damaged by rising floodwaters.

Water services in some parts of the city particularly those living in middle and upper-class subdivisions had only been brought back in the last week of December but full restoration is expected only by this month, according to local reports.

To make up for the water shortage, the salon staff had to load five-liter containers with water from a nearby deep well. The source said the water was offered for free by certain businessman Juan Sia.

Despite the water shortage, the salon continued to offer facial services because it gets a supply of mineral water which it pays for P1,400 monthly.

"Since December 19, we’re already getting around six to 12 customers who availed of parlor services and hair treatments. It’s a welcome development," the salon manager said.

The salon manager also said that some of its affluent clients donated the money they were supposed to spend for pampering.

"They decided to withhold plans of getting beauty treatments in this time of crisis. Their priority now is how to help in the recovery of the victims," the source said.

U Salon, which also offers several non-invasive, non-diet slimming programs, logged P200,000 for its anniversary month last June.

While the source said that the salon may not be able to match the anniversary proceeds, the salon is still optimistic of hitting “modest” sales during the holidays.

It is also expecting to recover from the effects of the storm soon, starting off with access to continuous supply of water. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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