APPLETON, Wis. — For two decades Cainan Davenport has cut hair.
He’s watched kids grow up into adults — and cut their hair.
Those people are why he and the other owners of Taperz Barber Shop in Appleton have fought to keep the business open through almost two years of a pandemic.
“The clients we have,” he said. “You know, we have characters that come in. We have funny people that come in, we have all different types of characters. That’s the fun part. Then I’m working with my best friends.”
But it hasn't always been easy, especially recently.
The business was helped by a $2,500 grant for the state during the early phases of the pandemic. It helped pay bills and helped keep the shop open, Davenport said.
Taperz has evolved — and is evolving — with the world around it.
Among the changes, haircuts are by appointment only, to limit the number of people in the shop at any one time.
Other, more recent, changes have also been made.
“We’ve been noticing a lot of people getting sick so we started back wearing masks. We haven’t made it mandatory for our clients to wear masks as of yet, but all of the barbers here mask up,” Davenport said. “We sanitize the chair after each cut. Just different things like that to keep things as safe as possible.”
Gov. Tony Evers visited the shop Tuesday highlighting the “We’re All In” grant program.
“I’ve visited small business all across the state and I am very pleased with how they have really turned the corner and are trying new practices in order to do the best they can in difficult situations,” he said.
He said, in general, the state’s small businesses are adapting.
“As long as we’re careful and wear the best mask you can get a hold of, and be safe, we’ll be all-right,” Evers said. “But it’s going to take some time.”
Many of those businesses are now watching as the number of COVID-19 variant cases across the state and nation rise.
Davenport is among those keep close tabs on case numbers.
“All I think about is, ‘Man, are we going to have to close. Are we going to have to close again?’” he said.
It’s a question in the background, and that’s where he hopes it stays, as he keeps busy cutting hair.