Peachland welcomed back a longtime hairdresser earlier this year. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

Peachland gives local hairdresser a warm welcome back

Carly Thomas said she’s grateful to be back working with friends and family

A Peachland hairdresser is glad and grateful to be back in town after taking the time to recover from asthma.

Carly Thomas has been a long time Peachland resident and hairdresser who had to take a break a few years back as she developed asthma that prevented her from working with strong chemicals.

“I needed to leave working with chemicals so I went to my other favourite place in the world besides Peachland: Maui. I took my yoga teacher training there, which helped me heal,” she said.

Thomas said she taught yoga in Alberta for eight years, then moved back to Peachland when her grandchild was born.

“I wanted to come back home and I felt that my lungs are healed enough that I could get back into a career that I absolutely loved and didn’t want to give up,” Thomas said.

“I’m so grateful to be here. I just love it, and I’ve seen a few of my past clients come here, and I just invite more of them to come and visit me.”

When Karen’s Place Hair and Body Works owner Karen Gunnlaugson announced that Thomas was joining her team, residents posted their support and excitement on social media. Gunnlaugson said they’re just as excited as everyone to have Thomas back in town.

“It’s been good. Peachland is a smaller community and it can take a while to build your clientele, but I think once (Thomas’) old clients realize she’s really here, they’ll come back and see her. People will always go to who they love,” she said.

“In this profession, you go through a lot of things with the people you serve. How many professions are there where you get to touch people’s lives and have a relationship with them?”

Thomas said coming back to hairdressing during COVID-19 has been a bizarre experience so far.

“It’s a different era right now. When I’ve seen some of my past clients, it takes all that I have not to hug them. I think that’s probably the hardest part, not being able to embrace and hug my clients,” she said.

Gunnlaugson said they’re all happy to be open again and tackling people’s needs.

“We closed three days before restrictions in B.C. really came into place. It just didn’t seem worth it for us to stay open, especially since Peachland has a lot of seniors and compromising someone’s health just to keep the doors open wasn’t worth it,” she said.

“There were a lot of ups and downs, especially when I called people to cancel their appointments… but now that we’ve reopened, the feedback has been good.”

Gunnlaugson and Thomas are both grateful for the relationships they’ve built throughout the years, as those relationships will carry the salon through the pandemic.

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Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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