BUSINESS has been cut in half for a North East hairdresser in a last-ditch effort to trim costs and avoid her struggling salon having to be given the ultimate chop.
Katie Patton, 33, has shaved 50% off the size of her styling shop in Morpeth, Northumberland, in a bid to ensure that the business survives and grows.
The radical action – which has involved the Diva salon in Newgate Street having its floorspace halved and given a revamp – came after Katie feared she might have to close down after five years because of soaring costs and outgoings.
She was paying £8,000 a year in business rates, the economic recession was continuing to bite and she was suffering from the double impact on trade of parking charges and major roadworks in the market town.
Following a terrible start to 2012, Katie was forced to make one member of staff redundant and considered closure, but instead came up with the idea of reducing the size of the salon by half, and making the remaining 50% available for rent.
Now she is much more optimistic about the future for herself and her stylist, Emma Froud. Diva was closed to allow the downsizing work to be carried out, and re-opened as a boutique-style salon earlier this month.
Katie, who has been a hairdresser in Morpeth for 33 years, had suffered along with other businesses on Newgate Street since the opening of the town’s flagship Sanderson Arcade shopping centre in November 2009.
More recently she was hit by the recession and her big business rates bill, and then saw trade plummet during the 12 weeks of disruption caused by major public utility works which meant a one-way traffic system in the town.
Katie said: “We’ve always been a busy, popular salon, but we’ve had to cope with an extremely difficult economic climate. We experienced the worst start to a year I have ever known. January and February are never busy months anyway, but then the roadworks started and it hit the town really badly.
“I had business rates of £8,000-a-year and, on top of that, parking charges are putting people off coming into Morpeth. The worst case scenario would have been closing the salon and going back mobile, but that was a last resort because I’m no quitter.
“I wanted to make sure the salon could stay here. I’m much more confident about the future of my business now.”