baz banks toronto

Toronto hair salon offering free services to laid off gym and restaurant workers

Gym and restaurant workers who have been laid off by yet another lockdown are eligible for free or discounted services from a Toronto salon.

Baz and Banks posted a passionate series of videos to their Instagram story on Jan. 3 when restrictions banning indoor dining and working out at gyms were introduced.

Owner Desiree Catana speaks to the camera in the videos, saying how lucky they are at Baz and Banks to be able to remain open during the current restrictions, and that they're still keeping their appointments with 50 per cent capacity plus mandatory masks and proof of vaccination.

"Just feeling a little bit guilty we are staying open and they are being shut down again," says Catana.

She goes on to say that she brainstormed with staff to come up with a way to support people laid off from gyms and restaurants, and they decided to offer free and discounted services.

"We were shut down for almost a year over 2020 and 2021, so I know exactly what they are going through," Catana tells blogTO. 

"We are no more deserving to be open than them. Everyone should have the right to continue to work and make a living to support themselves and their families. My heart truly breaks for these small business owners and their staff."

Catana says aside from the loss of due to not being able to work, lockdowns greatly affected her mental health, and she feels she can play a small part in helping out with mental wellness through making people look, and therefore feel, great.

"I've watched my friends and colleagues suffer through not being able to pay their bills, being stuck at home and feeling unmotivated and useless," says Catana.

"I've watched fellow salon owners shut their doors for good after spending their entire professional career working towards doing what they love."

Catana says to reach out to the salon or her personally if you or someone you know fits the bill and could use some pampering.

"Please reach out to us and we will make time to make you feel amazing," says Catana in the video.

Baz and Banks is currently offering 20 per cent off all services to anyone laid off due to another lockdown, and Catana herself is personally offering 30 per cent off. She's also doing some free haircuts and blow dries on her days off.

Located in Liberty Village, the salon is female owned and operated, and offers services that include cuts, colour and extensions. Cuts normally start around $80, but these ladies with 20 years of combined experience also typically offer services like touch-ups and balayage that can cost over $400.

"I have the most incredible group of people working for me," says Catana. 

"Even though they too were laid off for almost a year and are still not caught up on their own bills, they are willing to give up 20 per cent of their services to help someone who may need a smile."

They plan to continue the discount until things are reopened at full capacity.

Lead photo by

Baz and Banks

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