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Hair Salon Owner Tells Customers, 'Pay What You Can Afford'

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A Pennsylvania hair salon owner is helping her customers trim their budgets while she trims their hair, local television station WGAL reports.

Karen Ennis, who co-owns the Wrightsville, Pa., Riverfront Barbershop & Salon with her husband, said she noticed some of her loyal customers had stopped coming in for regular salon services over the last three years. They couldn't afford it, she said.

"I look around and I see nothing but hurting souls because the economy has put stress on moms," Ennis told WGAL.

In order to help her regulars, who are mostly women, Ennis took away the salon's price list and told clients, "Pay what you can afford." The new price system started Feb. 16.

To pay, customers now leave what they wish in an unmarked envelope in a box. Ennis does not open the envelopes until the end of the week to ensure the payments remain anonymous. According to WGAL, it's too early to tell whether her new pricing model will allow the salon to sustain itself.

"A lot of people are concerned I will lose my shirt," Ennis said in the interview, "but it's a leap of faith."

Ennis is not the only business owner trying to do her part to ease hardship for customers in need. Chain restaurant Panera Bread has opened a handful of pay-what-you-can cafes, including locations in Boston and Portland, Ore., as part of the company's non-profit arm.

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