Donna Toland has always loved fashion and design. After earning a four-year business degree, she went back to school for hair and cosmetology—and was crowned Miss Savannah in her home state of Georgia. Today, she runs a salon called Boardroom Hairstyles with her husband, Harry.
Operating their business throughout the past few years has been a wild, often scary ride, but Donna Toland and her husband, Harry, are committed to their clients and have maintained their reputation for excellent service.
Boardroom Hairstylists opened in Atlanta, GA, in 1994, in Wildwood Center (formerly known as Wildwood Office Park). For a year, Donna and her sister Debbie co-owned the business, but love took Debbie elsewhere. Donna has been in charge ever since–nearly 30 years. While Harry handles Boardroom’s marketing and web presence, Donna and her employees cut hair for men and women, venturing into spray tanning and eyelash extensions.
The nice thing about running a salon, Harry Toland says, is the human interaction. “You’re not only a hair stylist, but you’re a psychologist, because you hear everybody’s family issues, divorce issues, boss issues–you name it. And really, seriously, one of the most rewarding things about the business is we’ve had people for years—since we’ve been around. It’s like everybody’s a family. Sometimes we’ll go out to dinner with them or have them over here or get invited to their homes.”
Clover has helped the Tolands deepen those relationships with their clients. “What’s wonderful is we can store names, addresses, [and] phone numbers,” Harry says. In addition to processing payments using the Clover Flex and Mini, the Tolands can use Clover’s software to stay in touch with clients and track their preferred services. “It’s almost a Google Analytics-type thing,” Harry continues. “[It makes it] a lot easier to measure where your company is and the direction we’re going.”
But despite support from Clover and each other, the Tolands have faced huge challenges while running Boardroom Hairstyles. In fall 2021, four of their employees called in sick with the delta variant of COVID-19. Then, Donna started feeling ill. After taking an ambulance to the hospital, Donna was diagnosed with sepsis and pneumonia, both of which were complications of her own case of COVID-19. “She had an 83 blood oxygen count and a 104 temperature,” Harry says. “We really, really thought we were going to lose her.”
Donna’s weeks of recovery were some of the most challenging times of Harry’s life. He says, “The most difficult thing was that the hospitals at that time were not allowing people to see the patients. I didn’t care if I had to wear a hazmat or come in with a tank or whatever. Eventually, they let me go see her at the hospital. We could talk through a glass. The respiratory doctor explained everything to me about what was going on.”
Even after Donna was released from the hospital, she had to be on oxygen for three months. She would tote an oxygen tank into the salon, just to keep it running, Harry says.
Now that Donna has her health back, she is pouring her energy into her clients. “We like to strive for excellence,” Harry says. “We like to do our best. You can look at our reviews on Google. We have a wonderful reputation, and we aim to please.”
Most importantly, Harry and Donna continue to share their lives with each other. “You just never know from day to day what you’re about to get hit with or what’s going to happen,” Harry says. “Your health is the most important thing you have in your life. I don’t care how wealthy you are. I don’t care what you are; who you think you are. Donna is such a brave soul and a fighter. She made it. She came home. She’s stronger and better than ever. And the salon is doing well.”
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