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'It’s like being kicked when you’re already down' | Salon rebuilding after losing roof in winter storm

Winds took the roof off a salon in Ripon during a winter storm, flooding it and forcing it to close for up to three weeks after finally being allowed to reopen.

RIPON, Calif. — After seven weeks of lockdown, Divine Salon was forced to close again after a winter storm tore the roof off the building.

“It was just a mess. These ceiling tiles were everywhere. They’re continuing to fall from the ceiling and water just kept pouring,” said Heather Hernandez, Divine Salon owner, about the post-storm damage. “We were pretty devastated.”

Hernandez and her eight other stylists had just gotten the go-ahead to reopen on Jan. 26. The team experienced multiple shutdowns since the coronavirus pandemic started, but they dusted themselves off to get back to work on Tuesday. Hernandez already had 106 appointments lined up for the coming days.

However, around 6 a.m. the next day, those ambitions were halted when she saw the sight of pouring water, dangling light panels, and collapsing ceiling tiles on the salon’s surveillance video.

She said the wind ripped the roof off of the building and allowed water to pour right into the salon. In terms of post-storm damage, Hernandez is looking at refurnishing a station, flooring repairs, electrical work and possibly another three weeks of income loss for her and the other stylists.

“When I walked in, there was like light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, water pouring like someone just turned on a faucet and it was just pouring from the roof. And, it was like how do we get this to stop, and how do we even clean this up…,” Hernandez said.

Credit: Heather Hernandez
Divine Salon had waterlogged ceiling tiles collapsing to the ground after a winter storm tore off their roof.

The roof has since been tarped off while dehumidifiers dried up the room. She’s hoping the landlord’s insurance covers the repairs, but she and her eight other stylists are without their salon until repairs wrap up. Hernandez said some other salons in town are opening their doors to her stylists in the interim.

“It has been hard. It has been a hard few days,” Hernandez said. “I’m not a crier, but I’ve cried a ton just because it’s like you don’t even know what to do. You don’t even know where to start. From sun up to sundown, every day it’s been like phone calls, calling insurance companies, calling contractors, talking to all these people.”

Since the aftermath of the storm, she’s had community members reach out and offer to clean floors, bring her meals, and even offer donations. Some of the offers have even come from the very clients she’s dedicated herself toward for the past number of years.

Hernandez said part of the reason she loves being a stylist is the conversations she’s had with clients and being there for the ups and downs in their life. In a twist, the community is now doing the same for her after the coronavirus shutdowns and winter storm.

“I think that’s what I love is the relationships with my clients, and that’s why I’m just going to keep pushing ahead and hoping that we can get these doors open as soon as possible…,” Hernandez said.

Credit: Heather Hernandez
Repairs begin at Divine Salon after a winter storm tore the roof off the building and flooded the salon.


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