coronavirus chicago

West Loop Barbershop Shuts Down Storefront, Goes Mobile Because of Pandemic

Two business owners in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood were forced to think outside the box to survive during pandemic

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Many businesses in Chicago are coming up with creative ways to survive during the pandemic.

The owners of one barbershop in the West Loop neighborhood had to shut down their physical location after 17 years and made the decision to take the barbershop mobile.

Gina Arsenijevic said she and her twin sister Lexie Procaccio had to think outside the box in order to keep their business going and growing during a pandemic.

“Our late father was a barber and that's how we got into this,” said Arsenijevic. “Why let you know the tradition and legacy die just because COVID is putting restrictions on us.”

Arsenijevic and her sister knew giving up wasn’t an option. So, instead of shutting down for good, they came up with an idea to take their barbershop on the go.

“It was scary when you see bits and pieces coming together and it’s like, is it really going to happen,” she said. “But once it did, I was like, oh my God we did it like you can’t tell us no we’ll figure out a way to still do what we love.”

Mobile Family Barbers launched Tuesday and clients have to book an appointment online. The twin sisters bought a Nissan passenger van and converted the inside into a barbershop equipped with two chairs, mirrors and other items.

“We can still minimize the number of client base, the number of foot traffic, and still maintain clean and sanitized space, but we got to do it in a cost effective way,” said Lexie Procaccio.

They can now drive and meet clients anywhere, like at a nearby park in the West Loop. The van cost them tens of thousands of dollars and they hope the investment will pay off in the end.

“There’s so many small businesses in Chicago that once we lose them, corporate America can’t come in and save us all,” said Arsenijevic. “Stay positive keep trying to figure out a way keep pushing don’t ever give up.”

Arsenijevic and Procaccio told NBC 5 they are following guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every client will have to get their temperature checked before sitting in the chair and they must keep their face mask on at all times.

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