National barber shortage is felt in Sioux City

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — If you’ve noticed longer waits and fewer barbers at your local barber shop, you’re not alone. The lack of professionals in the hair industry is forcing some local businesses to change the way and when they operate.

“I’ve had clients drive in from Vermillion, some of them even drive in from Sioux Falls just to get their hair done,” said AMPM Braiding Studio owner Tene’ Williams.

Sioux City is feeling the effects of a nationwide shortage of barbers. This makes it difficult to set up convenient appointments.

“As for what’s popular now for the summer, box braids, anything long, long, you have to book two weeks in advance,” Williams said.

Cost Cutters operations manager explains what is contributing to the shortage in Sioux City.

“There have been four, just in our area, hairdressing schools that have closed. So there are fewer graduates, which affects staffing,” said Erin Stewart of Cost Cutters. “Also, it just takes longer to pass because because of COVID they’ve had to close a lot, so people are graduating later.”

And now local stylists are changing their workflows.

“We have stylists that float, and so they’ll actually have a home base, but they’ll float to a different location to fill in and help out,” Stewart said.

With changes to accommodate fewer stylists, people like Williams are wondering if businesses can stay afloat.

“I don’t think it’s sustainable at all. I think people who depend on other stylists and barbers, and they don’t, it gets overwhelming. You’re a person trying to fill all these appointments, it’s just not possible,” Williams said.

Williams also told me that she decided to start a summer program that would teach teens and moms how to do their own hair. If you are interested, you can Click here.

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