Hazleton Area Business Citizen Feb. 2014 | Page 7

Promoting a free market in the Greater Hazleton Area Driving south onto Poplar Street leads one up through the south side of Hazleton past St. Gabriel’s Cemetery into the Terrace. Among the first buildings constructed in that part of the city are spacious, block long row homes. Donna Delehanty’s business, the Hair Cellar, located at the corner of Muir and Hazle streets, mirrors some of the same qualities that the structure which houses her business possess: established, well built, long lasting. There are many other qualities Donna’s clients use to describe the Hair Cellar, just as there are many qualities Donna’s clients use to describe her. This similarity of personal and professional attributes reflects why small businesses survive and thrive in our marketplace, despite what is often a very difficult business environment. HABC: Based just on the sheer number of establishments, the Hair Salon/Barber business must be one of the most competitive. Do you consider the market to be saturated and if so, how does one survive is such an environment? Donna Delehanty: The beauty salon industry is obviously a service industry and to survive in this business you need to be available. I don’t think the market is saturated. There is always new, young talent arriving which adds to the number of operating establishments, but there are people who require different services. The longevity of our business is mainly up to the salon operator—especially by staying current with training and education. I’ve taught cosmetology for a number of years, and I’ve stayed interested. My employees have stayed interested. The ability to maintain longevity is really in one’s own hands in a service industry. HABC: Your salon has been established for a number of years, but a lot of the businesses in your industry don’t have the same staying power. How have you been able to stay in business for the number of years that you have? Donna Delehanty: I’ve been in business for thirty-six years. The first fifteen years were sink or swim. I had no choice. I was a single mother, and when you really have to do something, you do it. Plus, I love what I do. A lot of the young men and women who go into the business of barber and beauty salons are told you can make your own hours. That HABC February 1, 2014 is not true. Your hours are your customer’s hours. I open at 6 a.m. because many people come in before they go to work for haircuts or hair care services. If you are unable to do that or prefer not to do it, you probably will not last long. HABC: What is one thing about your business that you would think would surprise people? Donna Delehanty: The one thing that sets us apart is we take each client, man, woman and child, individually. We get to know the people and we can then counsel. People don’t just come in for a haircut and say I want this or that. We get to know our clients and we generally get to know the whole person. We can adapt our clients’ hair and look to their profession. HABC: What is your typical client? Donna Delehanty: My typical client is a person in business; a person who has to maint