Inclusive salon reopens to Tri-Cities community
Wavelengths Salon reopens after being closed for 4 months
Kath Barry and Faith Gambetty opened Wavelengths Salon as an inviting space to the LGBTQ+ community in the Tri-Cities back in November 2019. Quickly the pair started building clientel and offering something that the area didn’t otherwise have.
“There’s a certain responsibility because you are providing something different and special in the community,” Barry said, “Being the only inclusive hair salon in the Tri-Cities and having a place where people can come and be comfortable, that’s a wonderful feeling.”
On March 11, 2020 things changed though. A short time after opening their doors and providing the community a safe space, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the entire state of Washington to shut down.
“That’s a lot of months where you’re accumulating bills, but not bringing any money into the shop” Barry said, Everyone out there is just anxious to get their hair done. They’re stuck at home and they’re really need to have a cut and now we’re open for them.”
Gambetty said she has stayed in contact with clients over social media, even gaining more community members through online platforms.
“They’re sending me pictures of themselves with their wild hair and like, I’m not going to cut it myself.,” Gambetty said.
After getting clearance from the city of Kennewick, the salon officially reopened on July 14. Customers must set up appointment times, get their temperature checked when they arrive, answer a symptoms survey and wear a mask. The salon will give out masks if a customer needs one. Stylists will be wearing face masks and face shields during the appointments. Only one customer is allowed in the salon at a time to increase distancing. Each stylist station will also be cleaned and tools with be sterilized between visits.
Barry and Gambetty aren’t coming back to the salon during the pandemic, but they’ve hired two new stylists to serve clients in their absence.
“Because my immune system is compromised my doctor recommended that it would be wise that if I didn’t go back with the high numbers in the Tri-Cities at this moment,” Gambetty said.
Normally, Gambetty would serve as a stylist and Barry would assist by talking with clients.
“Kath has a very important job here,” Gambetty said, “Because we are an LGBTQ+ inclusive salon, we have people who actually come out at the salon for the first time. We have transgender women and it’s the very first place they’ve gone to in public, because this is a safe zone for them. We have transgender men. A lot of these people are scared but when they walk through the door they see two transgender women. When we first opened up, the first few months were so wonderful because I could do hair and Kath would be having conversations with our clients, you know, making them feel comfortable and at ease and letting them know that they are in a safe zone. For a transgender person and also for the LGBTQ+ community, going to salon can be a little bit scary, a little bit intimidating so this is their home, their safe zone.”
Barry talking to clients as Gambetty cuts hair and after they are through, clients take photos at the iconic purple wall. The tree featuring two love birds was painted by Barry’s daughter. The Wavelengths Salon Facebook page features photos of smiling clients after their first visit.
For an appointment, call (509) 405-0193. Wavelengths Salon is located at 5009 W. Clearwater Ave, Suite H in Kennewick.