COCHRAN,GEORGIA: Master cosmetologist and owner of The Hair Lounge Salon, located at 143 East Dykes Street, Ashley (Harris) Alexander, age 36, shared some thoughts about her work and the impact of the coronavirus with The Murphy Gazette.
She was born and raised in Cochran. She said, “No better place to call home.”
Ashley has been a master cosmetologist for 16 years, and her own salon, The Hair Lounge Salon.
The Murphy Gazette: Did you choose your career or did it choose you?
Ashley Alexander: I would have to say a little bit of both! As a child and into my teenage years I spent lots of time in my aunt’s beauty salon, watching and learning. It became a very familiar environment to me. It seemed to be a great place to meet and chat with so many new people. As I was coming into adulthood and making the decision on a career path, cosmetology seemed to be a good start for me! I knew I was very creative and always had a passion for art, as this could also be exhibited in the beauty industry. I’m also a people person, and enjoy good conversation and making new friends. In choosing the beauty industry as a career, it would also be nice to create my own hours and schedule to suit my lifestyle and the different seasons we go through along the way. I would say after sixteen years in the industry, it has been a good career choice for me.
The Murphy Gazette: How has COVID-19 economically impacted you?
Ashley Alexander: COVID-19 has had a pretty big impact on me and my family economically. My salon was ordered to close the doors back in March, with March 23 being my last day taking clients. As a small business owner, and being self employed, closing the doors means no paycheck. According to the government, salon owners would receive some financial help, during a time such as this, to help us stay a float until we could reopen and get back on our feet, but unfortunately I never received any unemployment during my time of being out of work. This was tough, but we made it through. It also taught me to financially always be a little more prepared, even for such a pandemic. God is always on time and looking out for us!
The Murphy Gazette: What are some changes you have made in daily life as a result of the virus?
Ashley Alexander: My family and I had to learn how to adjust to all being home and conform to somewhat of a new normal. My son, Ellis, who is 17 months old, is used to going to daycare, and being around other children, and on a schedule there. So, it’s a huge adjustment for him as well to be confined to home with mommy and daddy! We’ve learned being outdoors is the best for everyone!! Trying to somewhat have a scheduled breakfast, lunch and dinner time has worked great as well. Bedtime has been pushed back a little later, but that’s to be expected. We have enjoyed many golf cart and ranger rides and walks throughout these days. I would say the biggest change had been having the extra time to actually SLOW DOWN and enjoy each other and life so much more!
The Murphy Gazette: What good has come out of COVID-19 for you? (I. E. spirituality, emotionally, physically)
Ashley Alexander: Spirituality, my faith only grew stronger than it already was .’’Faith over fear’’ … God would not want anyone of us to live our life in fear but to trust in him to take care of us.
Emotionally, there are many mixed emotions for sure. My initial reaction of the shutdown was worry and anxiety, these truly got the best of me the first couple of weeks. Thoughts like, how could we make it financially? How would it work being a stay at home mom in quarantine? How would I just sit at home and not work?? Then suddenly, moving into week three things started to change and I began to enjoy being a stay at home mom, not going to a job, not having a tight schedule, etc. I was cherishing all the extra time with my family at our home! We were making memories… sweet memories. Then the next thing I knew, word was shelter in place was being lifted, and this meant I would need to head back to work. I was happy, and sad all at the same time. Part of me was so ready to get back to the salon and into the work routine again, but at the same time, I wasn’t ready to let go of the extra time with my family.
Physically, for the most part I felt good. I stayed healthy and tried to find the positives in our new normal!
The Murphy Gazette: How would you encourage others? What would you tell them?
Ashley Alexander: ‘You can’t stop living!’ Everyone truly needs to just use common sense …take all precautions possible throughout each day …little things such as, wash your hands frequently, sanitize, don’t expose yourself to big crowds. Most of all, trust in our Lord and Savior! He will not give us more than we can handle.”
Find us on Facebook @themurphygazette and Twitter @tmurphygazette.