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)

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,

Just Posted

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

Former Victoria HarbourCat and Chicago White Sox player Andrew Vaughn. (Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox)
Former Victoria HarbourCat hits first MLB home run, adds another two days later

Andrew Vaughn is the first HarbourCat alumni to hit a homer in the majors

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read