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,
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
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