Saskatchewan

'I've never felt that it was work': Regina hairdresser retires after more than 50 years

A Regina salon closed its doors last Friday after nearly 30 years in business.

Front Page salon in downtown Regina now closed as its owner says goodbye to the business

Don Gilroy pictured in front of his now closed salon, Front Page. (Abby Schneider/CBC News)

Don Gilroy is putting down his scissors after more than five decades cutting hair.

He has decided to retire at 71 after doing hair for 53 years. His Regina salon, Front Page Beauty Limited, closed its doors for the final time this past last Friday.

Gilroy started training at Marvel Beauty School in February of 1966 and graduated that fall. He worked at several salons before opening Front Page in 1990.

"I still love what I'm doing," Gilroy said, "I think the time is right to retire."

Gilroy said he feels fortunate that his job always felt more like a hobby.

"I've always said with my profession, I've never felt that it was work," Gilroy said, "At the end of the day yes I might be tired but I'm never tired of hair."

Gilroy says he is going to miss the social aspect the most.

"What goes on behind the chair stays behind the chair," Gilroy said. "I've been good to them and they've been good to me. I don't know how I've maintained them that long."

Clients there from the start

Lynn Goldman says Don was in his early 20’s when she started going to him in the 60’s. (Matthew Howard/CBC News)

Gilroy said his clients have always been his best advertisers. Lynn Goldman, who has been going to Gilroy for 50 years, is one of them.

She said that when she first started going to Don, he was a very young man who was working for another salon called Town and Country.

"Don is shy, I think the first 20 years I went to him he didn't talk at all." Goldman said.

She said Gilroy must have around 40 clients who have been going to him for years and years.

"Once you go to him you don't quit." Goldman said.

She said she liked going to Gilroy because he didn't keep you waiting and offered fresh coffee with every cut.

"It's just kind of a stop in your week where you feel good," Goldman said. "It's always a really pleasant part of my day and that makes it special."

She said the clients all knew Gilroy's retirement was to be expected but that they are "in mourning."

"Well a hairdresser is a very personal thing for a woman and once you get someone who knows you and knows your hair then it's a very relaxing thing to do," Goldman said. "You go in, you have your tense days or your happy days or your celebrating or your crying and it's kind of this relaxing shoulder to cry on."

She said finding a good hairdresser is going to be hard now that Gilroy is retired.

"I don't have to look in a mirror when I'm downtown to comb my hair extra ways or anything like that because I know it's looking good and it's looking good because of Don," Goldman said.

Styles through the ages

With 53 years of doing hair comes 53 years of different styles.

"In the later 60s it was all roller sets and pin curls and very structured sets of hair," Gilroy said, "We went through the Farrah Fawcett looks, the shag looks, the long straight looks where you could never get hair straight enough, and then we've gone into hair now that is very unstructured, tousled looking."

Gilroy says he prefers a classic look but says change is always good.

"Some of the, as I call it, fantasy colours I'm not a lover of them," Gilroy said, "But I think if that's what you want and if that's what you feel good in than that's good."

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