Carrolyn Shorey remembers playing with hair and creating her first French braid when she was as young as five years old.
“Even growing up my cousins everybody was always getting me to braid” she said. “When I was younger I was constantly braiding. Even my niece from when she was four or five Auntie Carrolyn braid my hair please.”
The hairstylist who recently opened Highlands Hair and Beauty in Harcourt has moved on from just braids to everything from foils colours cuts perms. Shorey grew up in the area and said she was a teenager when she met Tammy Donaldson who would do hair and makeup for a glamour shot set-up at Radio Shack.
“I would help her do that” said Shorey. “And then it wasn’t long after that that I went into hairdressing school.”
Shorey said hairdressing came naturally to her and she enrolled at Asta Hairstyling School in Peterborough at a time when the CHI iron and BioSilk flat irons were the peak of technology.
“I loved it” she said. “I had the passion I just needed the certificate.”
Now almost 20 years later she recently returned to the area when Donaldson and her family asked if she might want to set up shop in Donaldson’s mom’s shop.
Donna Burroughs got her hairdressing licence in 1960 and set up a salon in a little trailer beside the home where she lived with her husband Joe before building a hair salon in the house in the late 1970s.
“She was an amazing woman” said Shorey. “To me she was always well-dressed and well-mannered and very family-oriented. From what I hear she never had signs or anything like that. She just had her little price list and people just came and rang her doorbell and they’d get their hair done and she had her clients for years and years. People just came to visit her.”
Burroughs who died in 2016 was such a part of the salon the “town hairdresser” that Shorey said she kept some of her equipment in place.
“I’ve kept a bit of like her dryers to just keep that nostalgia about her” she said. “Her chairs are sitting there and her clippers are sitting there. I’ve kept a few things that when people come in they can still sit in her chair. I’m sentimental.”
She laughs though that with time comes changes in equipment – the dryers have ashtrays in the arm rests.
“I wanted to keep them you have to be modernized but I wanted to keep whatever I kind of could to keep that feel here because it’s important and I’m so grateful to [the family].”
After completing some renovations –including stripping the old wallpaper and laying down some flooring – Shorey posted on social media about the history of the space and her new business.
“I have so many joyful memories of this space from getting hair done doing glamour shots celebrations Joe’s music playing chats of worldly advice teaching me how to be a professional and a proper lady to just being so very kind loving open-armed. No matter the distance or time away I always felt welcomed by Joe and Donna. It gives me great pleasure to bring back life into the shop it has been a journey going through these changes … I have so much respect for this beautiful family.”
Shorey is currently open on Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays by appointment welcoming the public into the salon she has rejuvenated and made her own.
“That movie Steel Magnolias where you just come in and you feel cozy and you’re at home that’s the feeling that is here” she said. “Just that old fashioned come in let your stories come out feel good about yourself.”
For more information visit Highlands Hair & Beauty Salon on Facebook or phone 705-927-8268.