Tony Sawaya, owner of Salon O Coiffure & Spa

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Ariane Mimeault

Portrait

“Everyone in my family works in the beauty industry. My mother Laure is a beautician, and so is my sister Zeina. I’m a hairdresser by trade and we started our adventure thanks to my mom, who was a single mother.

Our family-run business began under her reign, when she rented a salon space in the Ogilvy boutique. When my sister joined her, they rented a second space. And I joined them shortly thereafter.

The three of us live in downtown Montreal; it’s our home. We’re originally from a country at war and my mother chose to move to Montreal for a better life. We live a street or two away from one another—we’re all so close! Yes, we work together every day, and we also have dinner together three to four times a week! Our relationship goes beyond business!

We took possession of the fourth-floor salon in Ogilvy in 2007.

We revamped the place, invested lots of money, and went back to basics: offering good service and always being there for our loyal customers. And our business gradually grew. Despite the economic crisis, we were able to build a team of 20 or so employees. Then Holt Renfrew bought out Ogilvy.

In the wake of that transition, we had a lot fewer customers making the trek to the fourth floor. We felt the pressure mounting, as we had 20 employees to think about—and our employees are like family to us.

We finally decided to relocate to Drummond Street. And there we were able to reinvent ourselves. Today, we have a loyal customer base and a wonderful network downtown. And the family keeps growing!”

Tony Sawaya