Family and friends surprise salon owner

Jodi Schellenberg
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When Elaine Powrie had to take some unexpected time off, she didn’t expect her salon to receive a facelift.

Elaine Powrie (right) was surprised when her daughter, Marti Stavely’s family decided to renovate her salon while she was recuperating from a surgery.

After developing a bowel obstruction and having to get surgery in June, Powrie had to shut down her business, Cassy’s Hair Salon.

“She had been talking about renovating and I had said we should go paint it and clean it so when she goes back to work it will look good,” her daughter Marti Stavely said.

When she suggested it to her husband, Tom, he took it one step further, saying they should just renovate the business during the months Powrie was recuperating.

Not only did they decide to paint the walls, the family put in new flooring, decorations, a sign on the window and changed out some of the old furniture.

“The only thing that wasn’t changed were her chairs and the stands,” Marti said. “They are her originals.”

They even changed out a window, redid the bathroom and put in an air conditioner. 

“She is good at helping the community and she does lots for us so we thought it was a good way to pay her back for all the things she has done for us,” Marti said.

Marti’s entire family was involved in the renovations, from her older daughter Cylie Williams buying supplies and decorating, to her younger daughter, Toni Stavely, working on the tile floor.

“She is only nine, but she was down here grouting and properly,” Tom said. “I was quite shocked. Once in a while I will be patching holes on a paint job and she’s come and try to help me and I’ll teach her, but this she caught onto really fast.”

The owners of the building the salon is in were also supportive of the renovation, although Marti forgot to contact them at first.

“They are paying for the window and the bathroom, but other than that they didn’t know we were renovating,” she said. “They phoned us at home and asked what we were doing.

“I never even thought of them … I should have checked with them first, I later learned, but they were really good,” she added.

While they were renovating the salon, there was a lot of interest from the neighbours in the area.

“Her clients came and they would check on us,” Marti smiled. “We were stopping people outside and telling them, ‘Don’t tell her’ because I was worried they would tell her. I didn’t want them to phone her and say, ‘Hey, what happened to your shop?’

“The whole neighbourhood was spying and watching what we were doing.”

They received help from Powrie’s friends Luann Furber, Irene Grimwood and Eileen Hunt, as well as Tom’s employees from First for Floods and Renovations.

“We were here working and we got it done in one week -- from Monday to Monday,” Marti said. “There were us three and then three of her friends came in and helped us do the cleaning.”

Powrie said that the salon, which she bought in 1997, hasn’t been updated since before she purchased it.

“From then, it’s just gone down over the years,” she said. “I never took time off. This is the longest I’ve ever been off. I’ve never had holidays, so there was no fixing up until I was in the hospital.”

She never expected her family and friends to take matters into their own hands while she was healing from surgery.

When she was feeling well enough to leave the house, Marti took her to the salon to show her the surprise.

“I stopped breathing, I’ll tell you, for a little bit,” Powrie said. “I was overwhelmed. It was so nice, so nice.”

Powrie has been off work since the end of June and will not know when she can go back to work until after a doctor’s appointment this week, but hopes to be back to work before the end of the month.

Since she has been off work for more than a month, Powrie is ready to get back to her salon.

“I am getting very bored at home now,” she said.

“She dyed my hair the other day and she actually sounded excited to do it,” Williams laughed. “That never happens.”

“Your family is a pain in your you-know-what,” Powrie retorted jokingly.

She will need to get some strength back before she can go back to work full time.

“I’m anxious to see everybody,” Powrie said. “I sure do appreciate my clients being patient. It was a nice ending to trauma.”

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Recent comments

  • Betty Richard (nee Powrie)
    August 06, 2014 - 19:40

    What a wonderful story. I am proud to say that Elaine is my sister. We live so far apart and I know she works hard and is such a good person. I admire her family for doing this for her. The shop looks fantastic! What a great surprise for her.