Corporate vs local – a never-ending battle

By Maddison Smith
Delta Digital News Service

   According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, 99.3% of business in Arkansas are small businesses and 47.8% of employees are employed by small businesses, as well. 

   Chandler’s Salon and Spa owner Angelia Austin said she feels secure and does not feel jeopardized by larger corporations. 

   “In a small business, we can be more loyal to our customers, with more detail,” Austin said “I have clients that will call me and say ‘hey, can you pray for me’ when times are tough. I can bring my own product in and do my own thing but, having the funds to bring is new stuff and have what you need is the hardest part,” Austin said.

   Drake Hill, a customer of Chandler’s Salon, reflected back to his first time with Austin.

   He said he went to several corporate owned salons because he did not have much money.

   “I always got my hair cut poorly and I am big on appearance,” Hill said, “It made me feel like they did not care about me. A small business cares about the customer and they thrive on repeat business.”

Hill also said he kept going back to Chandler’s because of the customer service.

   Chandler’s Salon uses only Jon Amico products and is designed for all hair types.

   “Our mission is to fight diversion and to fight against the big box retailer, supply houses and dry stores,” Austin said “As a Jon Amico member, I only use Jon Amico and you can only get this product in salons, not corporate salons.” 

   Chandler’s Salon and Spa has many good reviews on Facebook.

   “Angelia was fabulous! Took more time than planned to make sure my cut was exactly what I was wanting. Not to mention, how supportive she was knowing I was so nervous,” customer Jennifer Lyn Roach said.

Another satisfied customer reviewed Chandler’s Salon and Spa.

   Customer Karla Blackford said, “Love, love, love my haircut and highlights! Angelia is so friendly, listens to what you want and is able to give you honest feedback. Very comforting atmosphere!”

   Austin said she feels like she is making a difference in the community. Austin said, “Owning a small business shows my son and his friends that you can do anything you set your mind to do.” 

    Austin relies on Chandler’s to help support her and her family and has built her life around her brand.

   “I don’t know what I would do if I lost my business,” Austin said, “It’s like getting to see my grandmother every week and that’s how I feel about my clients. It would be devastating.” 

   Austin said giving her employees good benefits is hard in a small business. “I don’t feel that I can give them good health benefits because the deductible is so high vs if you were in a large corporation, the deductible would be much cheaper,” Austin said.

   Austin said she cannot give her employees paid vacation whereas a large corporation can, which is a problem.

   Austin said, “What I can give my employees is me, my time, my love and my person.” 

   According to the official Sport Clips website, Sport Clips has 1,500 stores in the United States and Canada. 

   Sport Clips assistant manager Jessi James said she feels secure in her job, but like every job, there are several disadvantages and advantages. 

   “We have corporate come in every three months to check and see if we are doing well and sometimes it’s a little robotic what they want you to do,” James said “I can also move anywhere in the United States and still have a job because we are everywhere. You get what you pay for every time, its consistent and it’s a professional environment. We do extensive training and classes for our employees and all of our products are professional.” 

  Each employee is equal, even though there are managers and assistant manager, James said. 

In a CNBC special report, Sport Clips Haircuts franchisees was featured among the “Top Franchisees in America,” according to Sport Clips press release.

   While Sport Clips is the “Official Haircutter” of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and provides haircuts through “haircuts with heart.”

   Facebook reviews show some of Sport Clips customers are not satisfied with their work. 

   “Uneven sides and sideburns and choppy. Back uneven. Kept pulling his head/hair. Terrible job,” customer Lindsey Cullen Burgess said. 

   Customer Christie Selfors left a review on Facebook as well, she said, “Thanks for ruining my fiancé’s hair today, by advising him that the hair cut he wanted ‘wouldn’t look good on him’ and then continue to buzz his hair off.”