Clients embrace Cloquet salon during pandemic

Clients and fellow Cloquet businesses offered Crowned Salon owner Sarah Faust support while the shop was closed for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Crowned Salon owner Sarah Faust opened the shop in Cloquet's West End district, but was closed for more than two and a half months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal

John Matthews walked into Crowned Salon in Cloquet Monday, June 1, but things were a little different than the last time he stopped in for a trim.

Stylist and owner Sarah Faust met him at the front with a mask on and used a forehead thermometer to check for a fever before she brought Matthews further into the salon.

Matthews, also wearing a mask, sat down and allowed Faust to drape the traditional salon cape over him.

Crowned Salon owner Sarah Faust trims John Mathews' hair during the shop's first day open after being closed for more than two months as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. (Jamey Malcomb / Pine Journal)


“How have things been?” Faust asked as she began the haircut.

Matthews typically has regular appointments at Crowned, but hasn’t been working since February because of the coronavirus pandemic that swept the world.

Crowned Salon was forced to close March 17 as part of Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order, just more than four months after opening in Cloquet’s West End district.

Faust bought the building in September and opened the salon later in October after some renovations to the space. Unfortunately, just a few weeks after opening, Faust arrived one morning to find the store flooded by a burst pipe, which forced her to briefly close.

Then in March, Walz’s order closed the store for nearly two and a half months — more than one-third of the time Faust has been open.

While being closed was tough, Crowned Salon’s clients and even the business community stepped in to help support the fledgling business.

“My previous clients and even my brand new clients have been so supportive, asking, 'Can I buy a gift card?' 'Can I buy products from you?' 'Can I write you a check?'” Faust said. “It’s been really amazing to see how much people love you.”

Faust said one client, Phyllis Ducey of Mahtowa, even offered to loan her money to help with mortgage payments.


“She has such a wonderful story, how everything fell into place and she bought her shop — she just had my heart,” Ducey said. “I feel God has blessed us, and we should be passing the blessing on where we can.”

Faust said she was fortunate she didn’t need to take the money, but was glad it was available if she needed it.

“I bought the whole building, and we rent out the apartments and those tenants pay the bills,” Faust said. “As a building owner, I’m fine, and as a business owner, I basically gave myself a cut on rent.”

Other clients offered to buy gift cards, prepay for appointments and some local businesses that were able to stay open offered gift cards to help her out. She even had clients offer to help make masks for the salon.

“One of my favorite coffee shops in Cloquet, Bearaboo, even messaged me to get my address because they had a gift card for me knowing that coffee was essential to me,” Faust said. “They are giving out free gift cards to businesses that couldn’t be open during the pandemic. That’s what amazing people they are.”

In reopening, Faust's space is ideal for social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak. Crowned Salon has only one other stylist, so there is plenty of space for keep people spread out. Salons, by their nature, have strict sanitation guidelines, but Crowned is adding additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols, particularly at contact points.

It’s a bit more work, but it’s the price Faust has to pay to get Crowned Salon going again, she said. Customers are returning, too. The salon was booked through mid-June after only two days of taking appointments, Faust said.

“It was so great to hear that I could lean on them if I needed to,” Faust said. “It made me so excited to go back to work to love on these people that took the time to love on me.”


Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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