After eight years of living in Mexico, Mark Morris has returned to his Castlegar roots. Morris has purchased and taken over Riverside Hair and Body Care in Robson and the shop is open for business.
“Me and my partner just took the business over three weeks ago,” said Morris. “I wanted to re-establish myself in this area before I got too much older. It’s fun to be on the move when you’re younger, but when you get older you have to settle down.”
With family in the area, Robson seemed a natural place to drop anchor. Morris grew up in Castlegar and completed high school at Stanley Humphries.
“I lived in Ootischenia as a kid,” he said. “We moved to Robson in high school and I really like it. All my family still lives here; it’s great.”
He eventually moved to Mexico with his partner and ended up in the country’s capital.
“I worked as a hairdresser in Mexico City in the Jewish district,” he said. “It was good. It was dangerous though. There were lots of assaults.”
In order to work, Morris had to learn Spanish and now speaks it fluently.
“I went to school there,” he said. “I arrived there not knowing any Spanish. I had to work so I had to learn. In Mexico City, everyone pretty much speaks Spanish. It was a great learning experience. The culture is so different down there.”
Arriving back in Canada, Morris had to re-adjust to Canadian life. Eventually, he and his partner looked at buying property in the Castlegar area and starting up a salon but eventually settled on taking over Riverside.
“One day I saw an ad for a hairdresser and went to see Brenda (former Riverside owner Huska),” said Morris. “She told me she was looking for someone to rent a chair. I said, ‘I need something that I can take to the bank.’ Renting a chair and going back to being a hairdresser like that isn’t what I had in mind.”
The following day, Huska contacted Morris about a business proposition.
“She wanted to spend less time in the shop and wanted someone to take over the shop and guarantee that she would have space,” he said. “So it worked out perfectly. I got my shop to start my business. Now it’s just a matter of building it.”
Morris says that Brenda is still a big part of the Riverside “team” and will be at the shop three days a week, while he works six days a week.
“People can make appointments or just drop in,” he said. “As long as I’m not busy I will see anybody on a drop in basis. It’s better to make an appointment because that way you know you’ll be looked after when you get here.”
Being open on Saturdays has brought in a lot of business, said Morris. “Just in the last three weeks there’s been a lot of people come in on Saturday that have nowhere to go because not many other hairdressers are open.”
Morris is also looking at importing silver jewelry from Taxico in Mexico and selling it at the store. Currently, the store is selling jewelry made by local artisans.
So if your ‘do is getting a little scraggly and it’s time for a trim, or you’re jonesin for a new look, come see master stylist Mark Morris at Riverside Hair and Body Care in Robson right next to the Lion’s Head Pub.