A ST IVES builder whose business has been hit by the recession has turned to hairdressing to plot a path through the downturn. Ross MacLeod has been running MacLeod Building for eight years, but had to lay off all but two of his workforce when work began

Banjo

A ST IVES builder whose business has been hit by the recession has turned to hairdressing to plot a path through the downturn.

Ross MacLeod has been running MacLeod Building for eight years, but had to lay off all but two of his workforce when work began to dry up. In an effort to diversify and survive the recession, the 25-year-old entrepreneur decided to open Banjo's, a men's hairdresser in Market Hill, St Ives.

"My brother and I wanted to find something that people needed - not something they only wanted. As people are trying to cut down their expenses, we wanted to find a business that would be essential," he said.

"Now that everyone has a little less money, they aren't building extensions or re-paving driveways, but people will always need haircuts."

With the experience of setting up his own building firm at just 18, Ross started Banjo's within six months of coming up with the idea. The salon opened for business on October 19 with a staff of two experienced hairdressers.

"Things are going well so far - business is slowly building up. We have priced ourselves competitively so that we are the cheapest in town," he said. "It's been quite a steep learning curve for me personally so far, but we are dealing with it all very well.

"Obviously, it's very different to anything I've done before - I can lay a brick, but running a hairdressing salon is a completely different world."

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE: From left, Mayor Brian Luter, Ross MacLeod, Gareth MacLeod, Louise Linsdell, and Gemma Ivinskiene. Picture: HELEN DRAKE 5489HD1009