Midas Touch Golden Tans was coming off the most successful year in its 18-year history and on track to have an even better 2020 when everything came to a screeching halt in March. “I don’t even know the words to describe the fear and anxiety and worry,” says manager Amy Ringler.
All of you understand exactly how she felt and have personally experienced the immense toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on businesses around the world. But, despite the unprecedented setback, the Kansas salon’s recent growth provided crucial financial security, and also plenty of reason to believe that the business is still well positioned for long-term success. “I’m just so glad that coronavirus hit after 2019,” Ringler says.
As the entire world continues to navigate through one of the most universally stressful and challenging times in modern history, it seems that most tanning business owners have now reached the point where they’re feeling some sense of relief. “I’m very happy as to how well we’re hanging in there. It’s definitely not as bad as I feared it to be,” says Touchable Tans owner Tara Sanders. “I’m not worried about closing down. It’s not at that level.”
Despite being asked in the midst of a global pandemic, 60 percent of industry members that responded to a Smart Tan poll in July and August said they feel more confident about the future of their tanning business than they did five years ago. While they’re probably left with a few more gray hairs on their heads, the vast majority of tanning businesses made it past mandated closures with their businesses intact and received a huge confidence boost when they opened their doors and welcomed back hordes of eager clients.
“We were so busy. It was so reassuring to see familiar faces. They wanted to shop and support local businesses. They wanted to buy anything and everything,” Ringler says.
But, when you look at the big picture, successful “grand re-openings” are far from the only reason that the future of the indoor tanning industry is still looking incredibly bright. For several years now, the industry has been trending in the right direction. Though the COVID-19 crisis crushed the indoor tanning busy season, there are several reasons why salons are better positioned than other retail operators to thrive as we continue to deal with the pandemic and its economic fallout. And, as you’ll see, there may be some silver linings in all of this.
Of course, there are exceptions to the general sentiment of the industry. Salons in states that weren’t allowed to open in May or June are surely feeling decidedly more pessimistic than those in the majority of states. However, the fact remains that many of those salons also experienced recent growth prior to the pandemic, and their prospects for future success are still just as strong, as long as they’re able to hold on in the short term.