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St. Paul small business toughens up after going through COVID restrictions, supply chain issues

Co-owners of Petite Salon didn't think their gift shop would save the salon twice.

ST PAUL, Minn. — For the last year and half, it's fair to say Petite Salon co-owners Brandy Mackson and Haley Fruen felt like they were being tested.

"Running and operating a hair salon at 50 percent for almost a year, I mean, and being closed for three months, that was definitely challenging," Fruen said.

This came at a time when they felt like they were hitting the ground running with an expansion on the horizon. They had the space, and thought, "Why not?"

"We were initially intending to build a spa to go to with our salons, and when COVID happened, we had to quickly pivot and come up with a new idea knowing that there was so much uncertainty," Mackson said.

The new idea was a small store. 

"Petite Shops is a shop made up of local and regional makers, so it's all a little bit of small business inside our small business," Fruen said.

Petite Shops then turned out to be a big boon that sustained them through the pandemic.

However, when they say bad things come in twos, they weren't kidding.

Supply chain issues caused problems once again for the salon.

"Our big manufacturer hair products — we've been out of stock for a year and a half, and there are products that we haven't had on our shelves for a while," Fruen explained.

If bad things come in twos, good things can also come in pairs. The little shop that saved the salon once, showed it was so nice it could do it twice.

"Because we have so many small vendors, we haven't run into any supply chain issues," Mackson said. "Because our vendors are local and small and able to keep up with our requests."

"With our local and regional makers, we know where our money goes, when you shop with us, you'll be supporting tons of really good people."