This is a two parter, stay tuned for the second half sometime soon!
“The what is closing?” I looked at the time while holding the phone to my ear. If I didn’t leave soon I would be late and I needed to finish the phone conversation with Laney quickly.
“The Shop!” I heard Laney scream into her phone. She was talking to me on speakerphone, evidently.
“How do you know?” Before I could let the shock hit me, I needed confirmation. I needed more answers. I decided that I could brush my teeth while holding the phone as well.
“I just drove by, there’s a big sign.”
“When?” I had to mumble, with toothpaste foaming and dripping into the sink.
“I didn’t see exactly, we’ll have to go and yell at Tony.”
“Yesf, Ve bill!”
“Why do you sound funny? Are we breaking up?” She yelled again.
“Doh! I’m brufing my teef.” I spit.
“Oh. Ha! Just now brushing your teeth? You better get a move on it, we have to be there in fifteen minutes.”
“Yeah, I know so stop talking to me!” I hung up the phone and slid it into my pocket knowing I would see her soon. I rinsed my mouth out and then it hit me. The Shop is closing. The shop was mine and Laney’s favorite hang-out spot. It had such a generic name because it did so many things. They sold coffee and books, they were a very popular spot for open-mic nights, at night they sold alcohol, and in the morning they had the best scrambled eggs and French toast. Not that there was an easy way to mess up scrambled eggs, but there must be a secret ingredient that no-one knew. I couldn’t believe they had chosen to close. Or maybe they hadn’t chosen this fate? Tony, the owner would have a lot of explaining to do to me and Laney, his most loyal customers. In fact, I can’t imagine him making this decision without our input.
I pulled into the parking lot the same time as Laney, we were able to walk into the salon together. It was our small business that we both worked hard to get. We met at school, both working on our associate’s degree for nail care. From there we worked at different salons under the same ownership. The boss moved from store to store to check up on things and was over worked. This put a lot of pressure on me and Laney until one day at The Shop, we decided it was time to buy our own. For a year we worked hard and saved all our tip money and were able to buy this little building in the perfect spot of town.
“So, when we’re done here we go talk to Tony right?” She took out her keys and opened the door.
“Duh.” I followed her in and flipped on the lights. We had a routine when opening our business.
“I mean, I would have a hang out here, but… but The Shop!” She turned to me and whined like a two year old not allowed his second piece of cake. Some nights, instead of closing up and going home or heading to The Shop, we would stay and have a glass of wine with some of the employees. It is good team building to become friends with who we work with and we are one of the only places that we know that work on this. Some of the other salon owners think it is a terrible idea, but they also haven’t seen as much profit as we have in the short time that we’ve been open. It also gives us a chance to play around with nail designs and massaging techniques without the customers getting upset.
“Sell coffee to customers and they read a book while we do their nails? Doubt that would work.” I turned on the computer and logged in. “Hey, we got a 10:30 appointment.”
“Let me guess, Maggie.”
“Yup.” I began clicking around on the schedule to see who was coming in.
“I am prepared. When does the 11 O’clocker get here?” She set up her station the way she liked it and headed for the back room to pick up more supplies to set up the other stations.
“Did you just answer your own question?” I yelled to the back room.
“Oh. Well, you know its Vicky. She tends to be late.” She emerged from the room and set bottles of nail polish remover at all the stations.
“I gave her a warning last time. If she shows up late today, she gets a star taken away.”
“I still can’t believe you do that. Our workers aren’t in kindergarten.” She begins to wipe down the massage chairs.
“But it works, remember Jeff? Kept flirting with all the customers so bad we lost some valuables? He was so afraid of leaving that he eventually got all his stars back and was one of the best people.”
“But those customers never came back, even after he moved to Milwaukee.”
“Well, what do you want me to do about it? Call each one of them up saying ‘The flirty guy left, we’d appreciate your business again’?” I finished looking at the schedule and clicked on the new unread emails.
“That would be lovely.” She ruffled through the mail for new magazines for the waiting area and bills.
“Not going to work Laney.” I flipped the door sign from closed to open and unlocked it so customers could come in. Not long after Maggie, our dedicated customer, entered and other customers slowly trickled in. The day seemed to go slow, knowing that we would be heading over to The Shop to grill Tony on the reason he was closing his doors for good.
TO BE CONTINUED.