With over half a century’s worth of experience in the industry and a passion for hair, The Hair Spot has served the Dufferin and Glencairn community with quality services and welcomes their clients with open arms.
Originally from Calabria, Italy, Santo Morrone moved to Naples with his siblings and began working in a barbershop at the age of nine. In 1968, Santo opened The Hair Spot at 2886 Dufferin Street and has never looked back. He cuts hair every day and clients of The Hair Spot admire his barbering technique, saying they could watch him cut hair all day.
His daughter, Palma N’Sheluvzit, has been working alongside her father for 20 years. She is an accomplished hair designer in the industry known for creating meticulous avant-garde hair designs and has won several awards for hair design in Canada and the United States.
Fatima Muniz is an eyebrow designer that has worked at The Hair Spot for nearly 15 years, she offers eyebrow services and body waxing. The salon provides all the services you would expect including barbering, haircuts, colour and styling.
At The Hair Spot, clients receive high-quality services from experienced industry professionals. Palma explains people usually expect these kinds of services would be offered in areas like Yorkville but the salon takes pride in knowing they give the highest quality and they are located at Dufferin and Glencairn.
“We are very much a people who like to keep things within our community, we shop at Lady York, we go to Amico Chef Bakery,” said Palma. “We like to shake hands of our neighbours and support each other and so I think being the little hairdresser gem of 52 years here in the corner, we hope we can keep counting and reach to 100.”
Palma said she has no plans of expanding or growing the salon. She is happy that she’s able to work alongside her father and Fatima every day, if anything she hopes in the next five to ten years that they can continue to do what they love.
When asked what her favourite part of the job was, Palma quickly replied ‘the interaction.’ She often compares the salon to the popular TV show, Cheers and their famous catchphrase, where everybody knows your name.
“You come in and you become part of the family … you are not a number in this place,” said Palma. “We get to know you, we build relationships, we build friendships … [and] that’s my favourite part of the job, the hair is just the bonus.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected businesses across Toronto and created a sense of unease. Palma said the lockdown was scary as the salon wasn’t sure if they were going to able to open up again and flourish.
Once restrictions were lifted, clients immediately showed up to the salon to support the business and receive their long-overdue haircuts. For the first month, Santo had a line-up out the door of dedicated clients who were waiting to have their haircut by his skillful hands.
“It was beautiful to see that people came the minute that we were given the okay,” said Palma. “Even when we were closed and I was in the salon cleaning, people would come and [ask] ‘How is your father? How is the family?’”
She said there is a strong sense of community in the neighbourhood and the salon is very fortunate that their clients, whom they consider their friends, were extremely supportive once they re-opened their doors.
“It is an absolute honour to be a hairdresser because this has been a place for people to come to where they don’t have social interactions with anybody and I happen to be the only place that they come to have that interaction,” said Palma. “I take it to heart that I’m able to work every day and stand behind my chair and make people feel beautiful with nowhere to go.”
Palma is an award-winning hair designer who has been recognized throughout North America for her techniques and skills. She has travelled to Japan to showcase a dress that she constructed made entirely of hand-braided hair, it weighed over 50 pounds and took her six months to create.
She said all of the hair designs she has created hold a special meaning to her as there is a great amount of emotion behind her work and she simply can’t choose just one as a favourite. Her personal goal is to display her work in an art gallery where fellow avant-garde hair designers can showcase their hair creations.
It is difficult for Palma to pinpoint where she generates influence for her creations but she said Fatima is a large source of inspiration for her. She affectionately refers to her as her ‘muse’ and ‘fairy godmother.’
The pair will look through art books that feature works from artists like Gustave Klimt and Andy Warhol, suddenly ideas will pop into Palma’s head and she will begin creating designs out of hair.
“At the end of the day, I’m just this girl from Dufferin and Glencairn,” explained Palma. “I have this crazy amount of passion and this desire to continue to create and build and [I’m] looking forward to [seeing] what comes of this next … I hope to achieve always something wonderful like if I can make somebody smile, I mean, that just makes me smile.”