Jeff Green | Jun 24, 2020

For almost 3 months, hair salons and barber shops were closed across the region, and when they opened 10 days ago a new salon was open in Verona.

Lori Smijan has lived in the Verona area for over 25 years, but she has always traveled to Kingston everyday to cut hair. She worked as an independent stylist in a salon in Kingston until February of this year, when she took some time off in order to have a successful operation for Carpal Tunnel syndrome.

She was ready to go back to work in early April but the lockdown for COVID-19 was underway by then and all hair salons shut down.

She found out in May that the salon in Verona which is co-located with Verona Carpet and has been branded as Village Hair for a number of years was available, she decided to make a change.

Part of her reasoning was that in the a co-op salon where she worked in Kingston the new reality was going to be complicated as she would have had to share time and space with other stylists and her clientele would be more at risk than in a one-stylist salon where she can disinfect between clients.

“I’ve always wanted to work locally,” she said, “and with all the changes this seemed to be the right time.

She approached Kevin Murphy of Verona Carpet and they agreed on rental terms. She took possession of the salon on Monday, June 8th, expecting to have the rest of the month to get ready to open. That all changed within a few hours.

“The Premier announced that we could open on Friday, June 11th, and that changed everything.”

Lori spent the rest of that week cleaning and painting the space, getting all the COVID-19 safety protocols in place and contacting her customers from her former location to inform them she wasn’t coming back to Kingston but they were welcome to visit her in Verona, starting on Tuesday, June 16th.

“I expected I would lose some clients who did not want to travel to Verona, but hoped I would pick up some new local clientele,” she said. “I reserved the first week for my existing clients.

Not only did she keep most of her clients, she has already picked up many new ones. A week after opening she is now booking for July 10 and beyond.

“My prices are a bit higher than some people may be used to but they were reasonable for Kingston and they seem to be ok for Verona as well,” she said. “I use only top-quality products and I have the skills and year’s of experience as well. I was on the fence about pricing, but I decided to keep them the same as I charged in Kingston and I feel confident about that.”

A senior men’s cut at Lori’s is $15, and a regular men’s cut is $22. Women’s prices are $32 (seniors) and $42. She also offers the full range of services for younger and older clientele.

Lori is committed to supporting the local community and has purchased everything she has needed to get her shop ready in Verona and Hartington.

Although she has almost been run off her feet getting ready and managing an ever growing clientele, she really enjoys the new 7 minute commute from Godfrey each day.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, appointments at Lori’s Hair Salon must be booked in advance by calling 613-329-2700.

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