Rhonda Graham poses beside a vacant salon chair on May 30. Graham has decided not to re-open the bricks and mortar Cedar & Rose studio, but said she will be available for ensuite bookings. (Nora O’Malley photo)

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

After 15 years of cutting hair and beautifying brides, Tofino business owner Rhonda Graham will not be re-opening her lifestyle salon Cedar & Rose.

Graham said the realities she is now faced with due to the new regulations and guidelines brought on by COVID-19 makes it “feel impossible to make ends meet.”

“I’m just done struggling to be honest. When the pandemic started, I knew this was probably going to be the end of my business,” said Graham, who had re-branded her beauty parlour as Cedar & Rose in the fall.

On April 16, 2020, the office of the provincial health officer ordered all personal services establishments to close. On May 19, the province cancelled that Order. WorkSafe BC has since asked employers to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that can be publicly displayed on their worksite.

Some COVID-19 Safety Protocols for hairstylists and barbers include: wearing a face mask, reducing occupancy to ensure adequate physical distancing, minimizing sharing tools (e.g. shears, irons, nail clippers, gowns, etc.), and using single-use items, such as single use make-up applicators.

“Only being able to operate at a smaller capacity that we are used to just to give space and for cleaning purposes, it would take a lot to recoup what we have lost,” said Graham.

What’s more, Graham told the Westerly she lost 90 per cent of her bridal bookings for summer 2020. During Tofino’s busy summer months, Graham and her team of beauticians would normally have had an appointment with a bride almost every day.

“We rely on [the wedding industry] to get us through the winter months. Even when we do have a super successful busy summer it’s still a bit of a struggle through the winter,” she said, adding the timing of the early spring pandemic closures was devastating.

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors,” she said.

Over the weekend on May 30 and 31, Graham held a big liquidation sale to offload the furniture, décor and remaining product within her shop.

“This has been such a surreal process and I’ll forever have gratitude for the support of this community,” she said.

One of her most memorable clients was Peggy Greig who passed away a few years ago.

“Up until she had to leave Tofino because she turned 100 and had to go to a home, I did her hair at least once a month if not more,” Graham recalls.

She went on to express her love and appreciation for being able to experience so many first haircuts, braiding the locks of flower girls, and for all the fun, family appointments over the years.

Graham leased the same building at the Outside Break (Beaches) shopping area for 15 years. Her neighbours included some of the Coast’s most famous establishments like the Tofitian, Chocolate Tofino and Tacofino Cantina. She notes the high overhead at the Outside Break made it hard for her to get ahead, and that she had been trying to sell her salon even before the pandemic struck.

“It supported an amazing lifestyle, but it was also a struggle. Having a business in Tofino is a dream, but it’s also so challenging. It’s sort of like a passion project and it was exactly that,” she said.

Simplifying and being mobile is the way of the future, Graham adds.

“I’m excited for what’s coming. I’m excited to see what’s going to get in the space next and what I’m going to do next. I’m being open to new opportunities,” she said.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: Low profits, few customers in post-pandemic recovery says B.C. business survey

READ: Pandemic-related restaurant closures take an emotional and financial toll

BeautyTofino,

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

CRD warns of toxic algae bloom at Thetis Lake Regional Park

Visitors advised to avoid swimming in lake, keep pets out of water

Saanich police, pound respond to possible cougar sighting

Cougar possibly seen in area of 4500-block of Chatterton Way

New exhibit at Point Ellice House examines history of waste, water and privilege

Night soil scavengers in the 19th century would collect human waste and dump it around the city

Salish Sea scavenger hunt turns participants into citizen scientists

Public invited to join the Great Salish Sea BioBlitz

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Most Read