After 52 years in the basement of the MUC, University Hair is no more. Former owners Cindy and Terry Knebel have taken up shop at Tribe Hair Salon in Glen Carbon and University Hair’s space has become the Health Service Annex.
When the school was closed down in March of this year, so was University Hair. The university had been in contact with the Knebels about coming back, but Terry said it was time to move on.
“They quarantined the place, and there’s no possible way I could operate a business because we couldn’t even get back into the building. They had it quarantined off, and they had all kinds of rules and regulations. If someone got sick, they would have to shut the thing down again,” Knebel said. “So, we decided to go ahead and venture out.”
The two now operate at Tribe Hair Salon in Glen Carbon, Illinois. Terry works as master barber, and Cindy works as senior hairstylist. Cindy said she’s happy to be working there.
“[My coworkers] are absolutely phenomenal. It’s a great shop,” Cindy said. “To be back in a shop where you can watch young people and learn from them and try new things … it’s really been uplifting.”
University Hair has been at the university since 1968. Terry started there in 1972, and Cindy joined him in 1988. Cindy said she enjoyed her time working at University Hair.
“It was probably one of the best experiences I think anybody, as a barber or a beautician, could have,” Cindy said. “Terry and I never would have had the experiences that we had if not for having a beauty and barber shop on a college campus.”
After University Hair’s spot was vacant for so many months, it took on a new role at the start of this semester. Health Service has transformed it into the Health Service Annex, a place that tests and screens students and faculty who are unsure if they have COVID-19 asymptomatically.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jeffrey Waple said it was important that Health Service have asymptomatic testing in a separate spot.
“We had to have a separate spot because in Health Service we’re not only seeing the symptomatic students, but we’re also providing other health care and mental health counseling that’s in that functional area,” Waple said.
Terry said the two don’t have any plans to go back.
“It’s very hard to move a business, I’ll tell you that right now after 48 years, and the University had no guarantees, they might have to shut the whole university down next week because of the pandemic,” Terry said. “There is no harm and no foul on anybody’s part, everyone’s been great.”
Waple said future plans for the area are unknown, but for now it will remain in use for testing.
“I don’t know what we will use that space for in the future, but for sure we will be doing some type of screening and testing through the spring term, and maybe longer than that,” Waple said.