Beloved Montreal hairdresser closes up shop after 57 years

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Beloved Montreal hairdresser closes up shop after nearly 6 decades
WATCH ABOVE: A beloved, longtime Montreal hairdresser has decided to close her salon at the age of 77, after 57 years in business. As Felicia Parrillo reports, Lise Bruneau started working at the salon on Wellington Street in Verdun back in 1967, when she was just 20 years old, and has been doing her clients' hair for decades – Jun 22, 2024

Lise Bruneau knows most of her clients better than most, since many of them have been getting their hair cut with her for decades.

So it’s no wonder over the years, many have become more than customers — they’ve become friends.

“I started with the grandmother, her daughter then she brought me her children, and it went on and on and on — I did five generations,” Bruneau said.

Bruneau started working at this salon on Wellington Street in Verdun back in 1967, when she was just 20 years old.

Years later, it became Salon Gaétane and in the late ’80s, she bought it from its former owner.

Since then, she’s built up an immensely loyal clientele, has hired staff that have become family and even met her late husband right there in one of the chairs.

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“I did his hair, and we got married,” she said. “And Lyne, my other hairdresser, met her husband here and they got married.”

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When her husband died in 2001, she says, it was her clients who helped her through the pain.

“They gave me strength to go through what I’m going through. And also, I help them,” she said. “I’m like a psychologist — they tell me their problems and I listen to them.”

Bruneau and her customers have been relying on each other for over 50 years.

But now, at 77 years old, Bruneau has decided that on Saturday, she will cut hair for one final time.

“It’s time for me to take my pension,” she said. “After so many years working — 57 years.”

For those who have worked alongside her throughout the years, like Lyne Lavoie and her mother, the closing of the salon is emotional.

But they say what they’ll miss most is Bruneau herself.

“She’s very soft, friendly — she’s not a boss, she’s more of a friend for me,” Lavoie said.

Clients echoed those comments, adding that after years of taking care of them, it’s time Bruneau takes care of herself.

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“She’s so attentive to everything we do, what we live, that sometimes we forget about her,” Louisette Du Cap said. “So I wish her a good retirement.”

Over the last few days, dozens of Bruneau’s clients have been dropping by, writing goodbye notes and well wishes.

Bruneau says all of their stories are what she’ll miss the most, and what she’ll take with her into her next chapter.

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