By Maureen McEwan
At the corner of Parkdale Avenue and Wellington Street West, a hair salon has served its loyal Hintonburg clients for over 26 years.
Stella’s Unisex Beauty Salon opened at 1175 Wellington St. W. (Unit #8) in March 1995.
Owner Stella Mail began cutting hair in 1983 and immigrated to Canada with her young family (husband and two children) in 1989, opening the beauty salon in Kitchissippi a few years later. It was Mail’s first business and has remained at its original location as Hintonburg evolved around it.
For Mail, the best part of her job has always been interacting with clients.
“I like to be with people,” she said.
“It’s exciting. We make them feel good, we make them look great and it’s [that] combination,” added Fay Alkadri, hair stylist at the beauty salon.
From day one, the beauty salon has offered unisex services. The team said this has been one of its strengths — it’s helped them build up their diverse client base. Customers of all ages, backgrounds and experiences have been going to the beauty salon for years.
“We even have a 100-year-old client…they come once a week!” Mail said.
Mail added that they serve generations of clients: they’ve had grandchildren and great grandparents from the same family sit down in their chairs.
“It’s like a family [re]union, everybody knows these people,” Mail said.
“They become part of your family and of your life, you know? You see them once every four weeks and it becomes a part of your life,” Fay added.
Mail said that many staff members have worked at the beauty salon for a long time and that they support and understand one another. Fay herself has worked there for a decade. The team also includes Lisa, another hair stylist, and Elena, who does laser hair removal and other spa services.
“It’s like this is our next family,” Fay said about the salon and team.
“We look forward to seeing each other, we are very close, we support each other, we work like a team — so it works out great,” she added.
“It’s like a home when we go there,” Mail said.
As the pandemic was arriving in Ontario last spring, the business celebrated its 25th anniversary. Over the last year, the greatest challenge for the team has been adjusting to the shutdowns and reopenings. But thanks to a very supportive client base, they’ve been weathering COVID-19 as a small business.
The team is proud of its “welcoming and open-door walk-in policy” and proud to continue to serve the Hintonburg community.
To learn more, call Stella’s Unisex Beauty Salon at 613-729-6813.