Toronto bar owner chopping hair off in livestream to raise funds for neighbouring business
TORONTO -- Abra Shiner’s hair is more than halfway down her back. She said she started growing it when she bought Swan Dive, a bar on Dundas Street West.
“I got myself a bar for my 35th and I’m 40 now,” she said.
The small business owner has her struggles, but she’s putting them aside to think of a hair salon located down the street.
“We’re all afraid that we’re going to lose everything, us small business owners, and I think it’s harder for people in her position,” Shiner said, referring to Allison Ruzicka, owner of Headbangers.
The rock-and-roll themed hair salon opened last August.
“It just so happened that everything was already in the works so I had to open. There was no stopping the train that’s going already,” Ruzicka said.
Salons in Toronto have been closed since November.
Ruzicka has applied for grants but said she hasn’t received funding, partly because her business is less than a year old.
“It’s been four months and I haven’t received anything yet, at this point I don’t even know if the money is coming,” she said.
“But I still have to pay full rent.”
Shiner is using her Instagram page to hold a livestream fundraiser Sunday night where she could end up bald.
“I’m going to cut my hair off on a livestream and every time someone donates money I’ll cut off a proportionate amount of my hair to their donation,” she said.
“I’m going to give the money to Allison so that maybe she can stay afloat.”
Ruzicka, a seasoned hair stylist, is thankful, but nervous at the thought.
“I’m scared for her. I hope she doesn’t have to go bald,” she laughed.
In addition to the haircut, there will be items from other small businesses auctioned off, including art and vinyl records.
The two women have seen each other in passing, but say they’re complete strangers.
“For a complete stranger to do something like this for me, I’m just so overwhelmed,” Ruzicka said.
“Hopefully she’s feeling a little less pressure,” Shiner said.
Due to Ontario’s growing number of COVID-19 cases, Ruzicka can’t be there in person but said she will be tuning in from home.
“I want to see the whole thing!”