Uptown salon says ‘everything changed’ after riots, COVID; launches fundraiser to stay afloat

The salon’s owners considered Uptown a "dream location" and the business was "already profiting" in its first year of existence. But then "everything changed."

Kuva Salon in Uptown Minneapolis (GoFundMe)

An Uptown salon is asking for the public’s help as it tries to bounce back from the COVID-19 lockdowns and Minneapolis riots.

“We created this fundraiser in hopes that Kuva Salon can continue to employ our incredible staff, serve our amazing clients, and recover as a thriving business in Uptown,” the owners of Kuva Salon wrote in a recently-launched GoFundMe.

Kuva Salon’s owners said they had been open for about eight months before COVID struck, which was then followed by riots in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Winston Smith in 2020 and 2021.

The owners, Will, Tami and Stephan, say they need to raise $150,000 to pay off rent owed and cover rent for a period of time moving forward while they rebuild their business.

“Within this last year, our two Covid loans have run out and we have not been able to add new stylists,” the fundraiser says. “We do not qualify for any government assistance that we may deserve because of our close proximity to the riots.”

Police make arrests in Uptown during riots in response to the death of Winston Smith in 2021. (Alpha News)

Kuva’s main revenue source comes from renting its space to stylists who operate their own independent businesses. The salon’s owners considered Uptown a “dream location” and the business was “already profiting” in its first year of existence. But then “everything changed.”

“These two events caused our successful business that was already profiting, to lose seven independent stylists. Most of them moved to another salon outside of Minneapolis,” the owners wrote on the GoFundMe page.

“Several salons within blocks of us have closed, we don’t want to be the next,” they said.

Various other businesses, including salons, have closed their doors in the last few years in the Uptown area, with some citing rising crime.

Juut Salon Spa shut down in June 2021. “It has become more and more evident that Uptown continues to struggle with store closings, social unrest, crime, and street closures,” a statement from the salon explained.

Other Uptown business closures included three restaurants closing down within the same week. Amore Uptown, Williams Uptown Pub & Peanut Bar, and Stella’s Fish Cafe all closed their doors in November 2022.

However, the owners of Kuva Salon are optimistic that Uptown is on its way to becoming vibrant again. “We have seen evidence of Uptown rebounding through new business, more traffic and less crime. Within 12 months we are confident that Kuva will be back on its feet and profitable,” the fundraiser says.

The GoFundMe to support Kuva Salon has raised nearly $5,000 so far.


Hayley Feland

Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.