If you have ever driven by Tina’s Friendly Hair Salon on Holland Street West, you may have noticed the giant ‘Grand Opening’ sign hung above the front door entrance for years now.
That's because owner Sinath Neang, (which is her real Cambodian name and goes by the name Tina Hart) says the sign has become iconic and brings attention to the salon.
“We want people’s attention,” laughs Neang. “It is a joke, but we cannot take it down now… every day is grand opening day!”
Neang came to Canada from Cambodia approximately 36 years ago. She has been married for 40 years and has three grown sons and five grandchildren.
Neang recently celebrated her 60th birthday on Mar. 5. She has over 36 years of experience as a hairdresser and obtained her license at the Hair Academy in Newmarket in 1994.
Neang has owned the salon for over five years and shares the salon with another owner who provides nail services.
She currently runs the salon alone because she has been unable have any staff due to the constant re-openings and closings of Covid-19 lockdowns.
“People don’t think about how much we pay here to be open,” shares Neang. “How can we have staff when we constantly opening and closing… so I am by myself here for now.”
Tina’s Hair Salon is a proud sponsor of the Out of the Cold Café in Bradford, a free temporary shelter space for those needing retreat from the cold during the winter months.
Neang supports the café by offering free haircuts for those in need and can't afford to pay for a haircut. Jodi Greenstreet, founder of the Out of the Cold Café run under her organization called WOW Living, has sent clients from the café to Tina’s Hair Salon for a free haircut and greatly appreciates Neang’s services.
“I like to help people,” expresses Neang. “I’m not rich and I’m not getting rich from people, I just want to be fair to all clients and look after them like my own… we do what we can!”
Before the pandemic began, Neang would often travel back home to Cambodia to visit her family but has not been able to visit since Covid-19 started.
“I miss them, it is hard, but I do talk to my sister all the time,” says Neang.
Neang has a side-passion for cooking and loves to share her recipes with her clients. Every year during Christmas, she hosts a Christmas dinner at the salon and invites all her clients.
“I love cooking! Fried rice, pad thai… we always have a nice dinner for the clients ever year,” shares Neang.
Neang has lived in Bradford for 23 years and says the “community is nice”. She plans to stay in Bradford for as long as Tina’s Hair Salon does.
“Tina’s Friendly Hair Salon lives up to their name!” wrote one customer on Tina’s Google reviews. “Great staff, good prices, all the stylists are knowledgeable of what they are doing…”