Round Rock | Pflugerville | Hutto Edition - December 2020



pandemic has led to unprecedented unemployment numbers and busi- ness closures throughout the region. For service industry businesses—such as salons, tness studios and massage therapy centers—limited physical contact has posed heightened chal- lenges, with personal connections at the forefront of their work. Personal connections For the past seven years, Puger- ville native Randi Field has operated Pugerville Massage Associates out of an historic home o West Pecan Street. She said establishing a practice in her hometown was a way to give back to the community that raised her. “This has been my dream forever,” she said. “I can’t believe I’ve mani- fested this. If I were to ever lose these things ... I don’t ever want to do that.” Field reopened Pugerville Mas- sage Associates in mid-June, follow- ing a temporary three-month closure in the spring. The intimacy of massage therapy is a connection people are craving now, Field said, as the coronavirus pan- demic has limited interpersonal, face- to-face interactions. “It’s very personal when you let someone work on your body, whether you love your body or you don’t love your body,” Field said. “I have a real personal connection with people when they come in.” At Pilates 512 in Round Rock, owner Brittany Harpole said the studio has always maintained smaller class sizes, now a proven strength. Harpole said the studio is more than just a place to break a sweat. “It was just kind of like a little sanctuary of normalcy, you know?” Harpole said. “Getting to come back to class, and we’re a pretty tight-knit family here.” Innovative operations Julie Afsahi, co-owner of Soul Strong Yoga in Round Rock, said her team began preparing for online classes when the pandemic landed on the West Coast in early 2020, prior to hitting Texas. Now the studio oers a combination of virtual practices, outdoor ows and limited in-person options with masks required during studio classes. From an enrollment standpoint, some members have not renewed memberships due to personal or familial employment loss, Afsahi said.


Service industry businesses in Round Rock, Pugerville and Hutto have enhanced their safety and social distancing protocols, all while providing core services to customers.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS Soul Strong Yoga The Salons at University Oaks SAFETY PRECAUTIONS Round Rock Round Rock

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS Pilates 512 Round Rock

Mask requirement upon entering and in waiting area Designated props for students during classes

Mask requirement

Mask requirement for in-studio classes

Designated props for recurring students, or bring-your-own

No double bookings for appointments

Sanitizing in between sessions

Social distancing in waiting room

Social distancing measures in place

Sanitizing in between sessions

Sanitizing in between sessions

Others havemaintainedmemberships while not attending classes—a means of donating to the studio to help keep it aoat, Afsahi said. The pandemic has also revealed emerging trends in class preferences. Soul Strong Yoga’s meditation classes previously showed low turnout. Now virtual, Afsahi said they are the stu- dio’s most popular oering. “We used to have to basically beg people to come to our meditation class,” she said, laughing. “People don’t necessarily want a hard work- out right now. Sometimes they need a really peaceful, guided meditation because they need to just chill.” Financial shortcomings The Studio experienced an approxi- mate 8% revenue loss due to the pan- demic, Gonzales said. She is grateful the salon has maintained monthly nancial reports, but she said many industry peers have not been as lucky. “We know where we’re growing, where we’re lacking, so we can adjust our game plan for all that,” she said. “But we also know a lot of salons that

have closed down.” The Round Rock Repertory Dance Centre has been an area institution for 46 years, with current owner Maggie Cantoran taking the helm in 2015. RRRDC saw an immediate 60% decline in enrollment in the spring, Cantoran said. Beginning this academic year with no revenue, the center is organizing an online auction for donated items, gift cards and certicates to raise funds for an outdoor spring recital, Cantoran said. “I am the third owner of this busi- ness,” Cantoran said. “And so to think, if we were forced to close it on my call, after 46 years? It would break my heart, absolutely break my heart.” Community camaraderie At The Salons at University Oaks, stylist Kristin DeMotta said her rela- tionships with clients continually remind her why she pursued this

career. On a recent Friday afternoon, she reconnected with one of her cli- ents, Sue, who moved from Utah to Round Rock three years ago. She knows details about Sue’s life before Round Rock, her children and her hobbies. That is not an anomaly, but a reality of the work she does daily, she said. When clients rst returned to The Studio, Gonzales said it was a more emotional reunion than anyone could have anticipated. The simple act of shampooing someone’s hair has become an intimate moment people did not realize they had been lacking, she said. “We miss our people,” Gonzales said. “We are invited into their per- sonal space like nobody else can be. And we don’t take that lightly.”

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