Owner of Bethesda salon concept is optimistic amid pandemic struggles

Hairdresser tools on a desk, no people. Barber shop closed during pandemic lockdown.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/RUBEN RAMOS)
In the hard-hit salon and spa industry, one local business owner is bucking the trend and expanding as others struggle.

It’s a trace of optimism during the coronavirus pandemic. Thomas Ruder, it turns out, has a business model well-suited for the era of COVID-19.

“We have individual, lockable studios. So if we have 30 stylists in a location, we, for the most part, have 30 individual rooms,” said Ruder, the CEO and founder of Symmetry Salon Studios, which rents out space to stylists. The business has multiple locations in the D.C. area.

Due to widespread safety protocols, the individual studios are well-situated for success.

“There is a greater demand for our product and what we’re offering,” he said. “So we are actively expanding our business.”

Ruder has now opened MODA Salon Studios in Bethesda, in the space another studio had to vacate.

Though he continues to be optimistic, Ruder’s businesses have been hovering the break-even point since added costs are eating into revenue growth.

He said he’s optimistic the virus will recede, but the demand for haircuts and nail treatments will not.

“These are opportunities for people to pamper themselves and to treat themselves, and a lot of times, they’re necessary services, and I don’t see those going away anytime soon,” Ruder said.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP.

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