New owners of hairdressers plan to buy out 10 salons in six months
- Credit: Albanpix.com
A New York couple have come home to Norwich to shake up the salon scene by buying up a chain of hairdressers.
Private investors Barnaby and Grace Cook have already bought family-run salon Garner Hair in St Giles Street, and intend to buy at least another nine come September.
Mr and Mrs Cook, who previously ran a video production company and events business respectively, have a track-record for buying businesses and intend to bring all the salons under one brand for better cost-efficiencies.
However unlike the majority of the industry, the formerly Brooklyn-based pair will employ all of their stylists instead of working on a rent-a-chair model, providing better stability for their staff.
Mr Cook said: "I started investing in businesses when I was in the States, and although Grace nor I are stylists we do know we like working with creative people.
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"Our strong skills in management and marketing will mean hairdressers can focus on the quality of their work while we look at the group-wide vision.
"By having multiple sites it also really helps with staff retention and progression because they can work across locations as well as us being able to invest in sending them to London for training, for example."
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The pair expect to invest around a million pounds in buying up the businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk.
Mrs Cook, who was born and bred in Norwich, said: "We also chose salons because I think the pandemic has really shown how much people miss these services - and that they can'[t be done online.
"People miss not only getting their hair done and feeling good about themselves but also the social aspect of having a catch up with their stylist."
Of their first purchase, Garner Hair, Mr Cook said: "It's a really well-known brand within the city so we've given it a new logo and site. We'll keep the name and branding of salons for now but I think we'll bring it under an umbrella brand down the line."
Their first order of business was to extend Garner Hair's opening hours with a corresponding pay rise for staff, and they are already hiring.
"We're speaking to maybe five salon owners a week who are interested in selling - I think a lot of people have spent the time with their families during this pandemic and are considering retirement to continue that," Mr Cook said.