Introduction to the Allison Marlow Q and A Session: Today I'm doing something a little different with this blog post. I will basically be conducting an interview with Allison Marlow, who owns a salon in Sidney, Ohio. Her salon is called The Royal Parlour LLC and it was shut down by orders from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) and the Director of the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Amy Acton. I will ask Allison the following questions and then we shall have a Scripture Reading, because here at Ohio Irish Lutheran Press (OIL Press) we encourage everyone to read Holy Scripture on a regular basis.
James' First Question: "Why did you start your salon, The Royal Parlour LLC, in the first place?"
Allison's First Answer: "I opened up the parlour to better serve not only my own clientele, but also to help other stylists grow in their career. I was 29 at the time and a seasoned stylist beyond my years. I'm also a hair educator and I am always being trained on the newest trends in the business, but I also run a business with a positive outlook making sure to take care of the mental health of the girls, I work alongside and my community. I needed to open my own place to be able to fully engage in this practice and set a place for others to be able to do the same. I allowed girls, who were new, old, on a strong path with life or on a struggle path, but who showed potential of being a positive light in our atmosphere. Not to cross religion with business, but we are all on a path separately helping each other together."
James's Second Question: "Do you have other stylists, who are either your employees or who pay you rent every month in order to have space to serve your customers? I ask about the rent, because I have to pay rent every month to Jen's Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) in St. Marys, Ohio even during the economic shut down. I am more than happy to pay rent to JFC every month even during the economic shut down, because JFC is one of the places, where I serve a lot of people, and I do not want JFC to ever close for good. So I will happily pay rent to keep JFC from closing for good."
Allison's Second Answer: "I house 4 other licensed professionals in the salon, who pay booth rent as independent contractors. They pay a flat rate each month, whether they work or not, it secures them a space within the salon, they can count on to have. My rent and utilities are still due, whether or not I'm there. On months with extra days, they are getting free work time, as well as I'm giving them free education once a month and I am at their disposal for any questions. And although I don't have to do anything for these girls, I want them to succeed, so every once in a while I throw advertising out there or do special things to help them reach goals."
James' Third Question: "Do you need your stylists to pay you rent during the economic shut down in order for you to reopen someday?"
Allison's Third Answer: "Well because I'm newly opened, yes. If I was opened for 6+ years, I may have been able to do half owed or even none owed depending--I have a lot on the line during this time, but I will without a doubt be opened again in the future. Although the people, I've surrounded myself with in this facility, are all business owners and they understand the trickling effect. Yes, I have my own money saved up from working. Yes, my husband and I have safely assumed, something could happen in the future to cause this, which is, why I know, I will re-open in days to come when allowed, but I believe, I worked hard for the money, I've earned and smartly saved and I do not believe, its my responsibility to just give it all away to those, who were less prepared. Nothing in life is free, we must always put our best foot forward and earn a life to live."
James' Fourth Question: "Is President Trump's $1,200 Stimulus Check enough money to cover any of your expenses and do you want more stimulus money to help you reopen, once Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton allow us to be totally free again in Ohio?"
Allison's Fourth Answer: "My stimulus money would cover 1/4 of the (7 weeks I will be off as of May 1st.) Bills I will owe. No I do not believe in government handouts. And I believe, that a smart business person will find away to thrive during this time. I don't think, those, who are taking all of this "free money," know, what is to come in our future. Our country is already in debt. This stimulus and government handout will certainly cause inflation of the price of life. Our taxes will be going up. And the hopes of getting social security before this was a no, now its a hard NO. Just digging a bigger hole. The value of the dollar will be so low. 'Totally free again in Ohio' HAH! Until the next time a virus comes around, maybe as soon as the Fall?"
James' Fifth Question: "You are right, that the Fall allegedly will bring a worse Corona Virus situation than now and some governors and public health officials are probably getting excited over the possible Corona Virus surge in the Fall. President Trump wants to avoid that, so hopefully he can pull that off. This economic shut down is both a personal annoyance to me and a limit on my civil liberties. I am also an essential worker outside of my vocations of author, self-publisher, and blogger here at Ohio Irish Lutheran Press (OIL Press), and as an essential worker I am getting a pay check every two weeks from my employer. I have an awesome team of managers (both union and non-union) above me and a labor union, which protect me from getting fired or disciplined for petty things. I have these awesome bosses above me and a union backing me up at work. Do you and/or your stylists have these any similar advantages or are you in a radically different situation from me and my fellow union workers?"
Allison's Fifth Answer: "We are business owners, so we do not have anyone to stand behind us with loads of corporate money to secure our jobs. We do that for ourselves. We can only fire or discipline ourselves."
James' Sixth Question: "I have two small businesses, Ohio Irish Lutheran Press (OIL Press) and Ohio Book Mart and More (OBM&M). These businesses were on the path to growth and success, until the Corona Virus situation erupted. I can still write books and people can order them online, if they want to. Granted most readers prefer to talk directly to local authors, before they buy local authors' books. I plan on printing my next book Martin Luther, William Tyndale, James Ussher, and their Work in Classics: With Other Christian Essays this year during the Corona Virus situation. Even if I am unable to sell copies of that new book this year or any copies of my other published books this year, I will be able to sell my books again someday. Plus I have a nice stockpile of pre-owned books and other items for people to buy, when they can buy them. President Trump believes, that there is an un-tapped demand for products and services. Do you agree with President Trump, that there is an un-tapped demand for products and services? Do you believe, that readers will continue read the books, which I have written and published, along with those pre-owned books and they will continue to buy the other items, which I bought for re-sale? Do you think, your customers will come back to The Royal Parlour LLC, once you are allowed to reopen?"
Allison's Sixth Answer:" Oh this is a bit loaded in my honest opinion, but here's my go, I believe people will absolutely be able to resume to normalcy. I do also believe, that those, who are scared and unwilling to risk their lives to return to normalcy, will be at the hands of those, who shut us all down and who have converted their minds to become this way. Our customers will return, I can say that, because I've had numerous ones already trying to meet up for a color retouch! Which of course I did not accept due to our $5,000 fines and license revoking we have been aware of since the beginning of our shutdown. As far as untapped demand for products and services, well duh there's always something new and exciting to do, but finding it and then utilizing it is something, that's up to the business at hand. And whether or not they will produce a want for their new innovative product is another thing."
James' Seventh Question:"I totally empathize with you on giant burdens, which you are having to go through right now. You are a lot worse off than me. Do you become disheartened, when people, who have no idea, what is going on inside of your heart and mind, start bashing you and asserting, that you are a greedy monster? You are not a greedy monster. You are just a nice lady, who wants to serve your stylists and your customers. People call us, business owners, greedy monsters, but what about the government?"
Allison's Seventh Answer: "Am I a greedy monster? NO! (haha) That's my husband! But in all seriousness, I see, how a lot of people assume, business owners are greedy, heck I get to hear my own family say '$18 for a haircut??? I can get one for $5.99 elsewhere.' I chuckle, because I know my worth. I know the time and money spent to learn and absorb, what I know. And I gladly accept them in my chair without judgement, when they need that at home cut, color, or 'elsewhere' job fixed. But I do make others aware of the process, if i can. As stated before, I'm not out applying for all the SBA LOANS, I can get my hands on. One of my downfalls as a business owner is giving more, than I receive, and we all know, that can be good and bad all in the same room. I don't level up, because I'm a business owner. I don't level up, because I have a few more hundred dollars than the other guy. I only compete with myself to do better for myself to build a life of happiness for me. I'd say, I'm selfish, selfish because I take care of myself and make sure, I'm happy yes. Am I out buying a yacht, NO! Recently we were made aware of larger 'small' businesses taking advantage of small business loans to capsize their yearly earnings, 'because they can.' When questioned why they did this their response is, 'well the government made it to, where there are loopholes to gain access to all of this money, you should be upset with them.' Well, I don't have the backing to pull gain, like they did, I also wouldn't have done it. My thought is, 'so your walking around and this BIG guys sits a bag of money down on the ground for Karen, but she's across the road with obstacles in her way of reaching said bag of money, do you think, because you can reach down and pick it up your entitled to it?' No, HARD NO. Unfortunately there are a big bag of loser business owners out there, that have made it to, where they are today, because of foolish bullying and grabbing into bags that didn't have their name on it. 'But the government didn't say, I 'couldn't' have it' smh."
James' Eighth Question: "Do you feel, that my comparing and contrasting my personal situation to your personal situation and my comparing and contrasting my two businesses and your salon are helpful to those reading this blog post, so they see two different individuals dealing with the same Corona Virus situation? The Corona Virus is affecting every aspect of life and everyone is dealing with it differently. Not everyone gets a chance to talk to small business owners and all businesses are unique, so I feel, it was important to have this Q and A Session with you."
Allison's Eighth Answer: "Absolutely, as I've said before, we may not be on the same field, but we are all playing hardball right now. I don't believe, my situation is the worst, I believe, some have it worst, which why I feel, I should speak up and share my insight. I agree, let's shed light to those, who are assuming, it's just one thing or another. I'm also a part-time photographer and Long story short. I had an in-law family member call and report me specifically for being non-essential, because I took some outdoor photos for no charge to capture happiness during this historical moment from more than 10 feet away and sometimes sitting in my car. It wasn't shocking to hear a family member of my husband's did this, but it was shocking, that the local health department shut down County Photography through a Facebook message in which I received at least 1 phone call per day from someone about the manner from family, friends, colleagues, newspaper reporters, television news reporters, and the local health department, for TWO WEEKS! I can't say, my quarantine has been uneventful. Its sad, someone used that to their advantage out of spite and didn't think about the others struggling actually using it for income during this time. We were eventually cleared, as the health department finally gave clearance to the message, that was sent. People should know, what has been going on and how people have been treated on a local and statewide scale. I've also been in contact with State Representatives Susan Manchester, Nino Nitale, and Lydia Mahilik and Governor DeWine himself, and Representative Jim Jordan and still we have no answers. I know, it's their 'first rodeo,' but come on. Salons and restaurants were of the first to be closed, and I know, restaurants will be opening before salons--if i can give my opinion."
James' Ninth Question: "I know, you touched on this already, but I want to go a little deeper on this issue of reopening. What do you say to those, who may not want to venture out to get their hair and nails done, once you can reopen? Do you agree with Governor Brian Kemp (R) of Georgia, that we need to start reopening the economy in a responsible manner, because businesses are going under and some business owners are losing not only their income and their businesses, but some of them are also losing a sense of purpose and their mental health over the Corona Virus situation? I am not saying, that all business owners have things that bad, but these are real and present dangers for business owners."
Allison's Ninth Answer: "For those, who choose to stay in quarantine, should absolutely have that right, right now. For those who state, business owners don't care for the health of others, I will answer with this. I have a father and niece with heart conditions, I would assume, they will stay in quarantine as long as possible. I myself am asthmatic and have been through a round of the flu, where I was hitting my nebulizer giving myself breathing treatments with prescription strength albuterol on the hour for 3 days. I'm willing to go back to work tomorrow. What kind of life are you living sitting at home scrounging pennies to eat on, decreasing in health for not having a normal routine of exercise and healthy eating habits. The quality of life is down, yes? Of course it is. Depression and anxiety are real things and I'd rather die taking a SLIM chance of catching a virus being happy, than to sit at home doing nothing waiting for money to pay bills and eat, whatever I can find at home. Not everyone is on the same playing field. Some actually live paycheck to paycheck and those people without pay for 7 weeks are struggling mentally, physically, and emotionally. I believe in living life, loving it, and not living in fear. We can't control, what happens even a virus. This virus will still be around, after we end quarantine, whether we like it or not. But our businesses and our mental health will reach an all time low and most of which we won't recover from. Most are recovering from the virus, and I believe in doing the responsible things to make smart decisions in how you are in the public. 80% of my schooling in the hair industry is sanitation, disinfection, and sterilization. I'm licensed to take care of blood born pathogens--I can also respectfully take care of viruses! If I could only get on my state board of cosmetology, I'd be making huge changes in the schooling, as far as we should be seeing 2 year degrees in anatomy and disease and infection control. I'd also change the professional standards, we hold. Because we are essential. And very, very smart people. But some people can clean and some can't and some know, how to stay home, when they should and some don't. That's our real problem."
James' Final Question for Today: "People, who read my blog posts and books or who know me from various church settings, work, high school, college, and the Republican Party, know a great deal about me. I think, most of these relationships are good and positive and they have helped shape, who I am today. What makes you Allison Marlow? Please give us some information about you as a person outside of your business i.e. your Faith Story, your hobbies, your passions, and pretty much anything that might make people think, 'I want to hang out with Allison Marlow.' Thank you Allison for taking the time to answer all of my questions in a kind, loving, thoughtful, and thought provoking way. I sincerely appreciate it, Allison."
Allison's Final Answer for Today: "This will be five pages long. (hahahahah) :) Kidding---Allison Marlow: I'm a wife of 2 years, I have fur-kids, and I am the youngest of my female based family of two sisters and mom and dad. I was raised and I still believe in Christianity. I'm conservative, but I don't always agree with the government's decisions. (Whatever you'd call that?) (shrugging my shoulders) I'm an artist at heart. My passion and hobby are my work in the salon. I listen to people very well, and give constructive criticism. I believe, working together is better and more powerful than 1 person doing it all. I believe, a man is the head of the household, where his wife makes it a home. Teamwork and communication are key. I believe, family is, who you consider family, not just blood. I think, women can be very strong and powerful people, but I believe, a man and a woman can do more together than egotistically alone. God has a plan for everyone, and God promised, He would never flood the earth again. So we shouldn't live in fear. We should die living our best life instead of decaying at home after giving 7 weeks of our life to flatten the curve. I'm a proven walker of holistic medicine and I believe it over anything a doctor can prescribe. Happiness is the best medicine."
Let us read Genesis 7:1-5 and 8:1-5 and 20-22:
"7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, 'Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation. 2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made, will I destroy from off the face of the earth.' 5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him."
"8:1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; 2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of Heaven were stopped, and the rain from Heaven was restrained; 3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. 4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. 5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen."
"8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in His heart, 'I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite anymore every thing living, as I have done. 22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (KJV 1611)."
Disclaimer: The questions generated here are the sole opinions and concerns of me, James W. O'Flannery, and the answers given are the sole opinions and expressions of the experiences of Allison Marlow. I wrote, what I wrote, and she wrote, what she wrote. I only added commas, where I felt, they needed to be, and I did some other basic editing, but, what Allison wrote, are her words and not mine. I plan on reaching out to my friends Jim Jordan and Susan Manchester, because I feel, that they have the right to address these concerns. They might be able to discern, how they can help us business owners in need of some relief from the Corona Virus situation.
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Photo Credit: Allison Marlow's Timeline on Facebook