Blog > Pennsylvania Hair Studio Rises Above the Challenges of a Pandemic
January 27, 2021
Pennsylvania Hair Studio Rises Above the Challenges of a Pandemic

LGBTQ+ friendly hair salon builds name recognition using its Niantic Sponsored Location to help drive awareness.

Niantic gave 1,000 nominated businesses complimentary promotion in Pokémon GO for one year. Now, we are sharing their stories. This week, we take a look at how a LGBTQ+ friendly hair salon builds name recognition using its Niantic Sponsored Location to help drive awareness.

RISE Hair Studio, a full-service hair salon in Harrisburg, PA, experienced its hardest year operating through closures and various challenges that the pandemic has brought to so many small businesses. The salon was closed for several months, stylists lost clients, and they are now only able to service clients at 50 percent capacity. Tina Siders, owner of the hair studio, is relentless and vows to never give in to a challenge, and the pandemic has not slowed her down.

“The pandemic has been really difficult for everyone, and that includes our stylists and clients,” said Siders. “I try to see a ray of sunshine in the worst of situations, and find positive things to keep spirits up and business going.”

The salon has made several adjustments to make clients feel safe and comfortable at the salon, as well as changed the schedule to open seven days a week. With only 50 percent capacity permitted inside, offering appointments seven days a week was the only way to get all the stylists and their clients in the salon. Everyone wears masks and the salon chairs are sanitized after each use.

The salon was originally named Salon Noelle and recently decided to rebrand using the name RISE Hair Studio. The transition has not been easy, especially re-establishing itself on social media and building the level of trust that is needed with a new brand. The new name represents how the stylists impact people’s lives, “we RISE by lifting others up.” It also represents their belief in nondiscrimination, ensuring the salon is a safe place for the local LGBTQ+ community.

The hair salon industry tends to have a stigma on what is considered a "men's cut” versus a "women's cut.” At Rise Hair Studio, gender neutral pricing is offered to clients who do not want to be categorized one way or the other by their hair style. The salon aims to make everyone who walks in the door feel loved and accepted for who they are.

“We are a team, a tribe, a collective group of souls working together to help our clients feel good about themselves,” said Siders. “We impact their lives by being their cheerleaders and a caring, listening ear as they go through graduations, engagements, weddings, deaths, breakups and much more.”

Becoming a Niantic Sponsored Location

One of the hair stylists who is active in the local Pokémon GO community nominated RISE Hair Studio for the Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative, resulting in a Pokémon GO Gym representing the salon.

The salon works with a diverse group of people as clients, and believes that the Pokémon GO community reflects that same diversity and friendly, welcoming vibe as well. Siders believes that the added visibility from having a Gym will help build their name recognition and further establish the salon as a friendly, welcoming pillar in the local community for diversity.

The salon plans to promote its Gym on their social channels and provide specials for Pokémon GO players in the future. The salon is leveraging its Niantic Sponsored Location to help draw in new clients and build credibility for the rebrand.

“Since having the Gym, we’ve seen a lot more activity in front of our salon, especially from younger people who are stopping by and playing the game,” said Siders.

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