St. John’s issues warning to ‘Curl Up and Dye’ hair salon – but the store isn’t real

ST. JOHN’S, NL — The City of St. John’s issued a warning to a downtown home last week for operating an unlicensed hair salon, but the ‘Curl Up and Dye’ beauty salon is just a backdrop for a locally filmed television program.

The bright red window sign advertising the fictional hair salon has been drawing double takes and laughs from passers-by since Citytv’s ‘Hudson and Rex’ crew installed it in Anne Pickard-Vaandering’s window, a- she said in an interview Thursday.

She said she never imagined it would also attract a letter from the city claiming the fictitious business was operating without a proper permit.

“It was obviously an honest mistake,” Pickard-Vaandering said, emphasizing that she wasn’t trying to shame the city by sharing her story. “But it’s hilarious. My gut hurts from laughing.

The fictional ‘Curl Up and Dye’ beauty salon first brought a smile to St. John’s when a neighbor in Pickard-Vaandering posted a photo of the store’s sign on Facebook. The post has been shared hundreds of times, mostly by curious people cheering on the clever name of the salon. Pickard-Vaandering chimed in to say the house belonged to her and her husband and it wasn’t really a beauty salon.

Instead, the store played a role in the locally produced cop and dog show “Hudson and Rex.” Courtesy of Pickard-Vaandering, the show’s crew installed a bright red window decal before filming on its street on August 8. They painted its window and door frames candy red to match the lettering.

Pickard-Vaandering said she was out of town when the decal was installed, adding that she giggled when she returned to see the results. It was raining the day the sign was supposed to fall, so she kept everything as it was.

Plus, it’s so much fun, she said, noting that Carrie Fisher’s character in “The Blues Brothers” also worked at a salon called Curl Up and Dye.

The sign also brought people closer, Pickard-Vaandering added. Before her husband bought the house in 2006, it was actually home to a few beauty salons, most recently a boutique called Mark of Elegance. She learned from comments on social media that Bertha’s beauty salon was there before that.

“So many people have made comments like, ‘I got my first job there; Before, I had to come in and work on the mannequins,” Pickard-Vaandering said. “A really lovely part of the story is that other people connected through me by sharing this post, and they were able to remember things from years ago.”

As for the City of St. John’s, the letter it received on Monday says an official inspected the property and concluded that the “Curl Up and Dye” salon lacked the proper approvals to operate. The company was in violation of four sections of city bylaws, the letter says.

The letter warned of fines of up to $5,000 for each “deficiency”.

Julian Vaandering contacted the city on Tuesday to explain. When no one responded, Anne Pickard-Vaandering shared the city’s letter on social media on Thursday. The city has since contacted them to say the case is closed, she said.

Pickard-Vaandering said she has no hard feelings against the city and understands the inspector was just doing his job.

“But I would say the due diligence could start with a phone call,” she said. “You know, ‘I’d like to make an appointment for a perm!'”

The City of St. John’s said someone filed a complaint Aug. 10 about a business operating in the home without nearby residents being told of its plans, according to an emailed statement. An inspector took a look and decided it was “likely a business was operating without approval,” spokesperson Kelly Dyer’s email said.

She noted that there are salons in other provinces with the name “Curl Up and Dye.”

The city has confirmed the case has been dismissed, although the statement says that if Pickard-Vaandering wishes to retain the window inscription, it will have to follow St. John’s heritage regulations.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 26, 2022.

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