When the community shuttle ceased operation last March, it had a wide-ranging affect on the community.
Not only were many residents left without a viable transportation option, businesses around town whose customers used the service also noticed a decrease in sales. At least that was the case for Textures Hair Salon in Virgil. Owner Jaime Chevalier said several of her clients stopped coming to the salon when the shuttle stopped because they no longer had a way of getting to the Niagara Stone Road location.
“We would have wedding parties staying at hotels in town have to call and cancel because all of a sudden they had no way of getting here,” she said. “There were also several elderly clients who had been coming here on a regular basis who were no longer able to make their appointments because there was no shuttle.”
It wasn’t just the lost of business that bothered Chevalier; it was no longer being able to see the regular clients that hairdressers had developed a relationship with.
“There was a definite sense of loss,” she said.
When Chevalier heard that the shuttle was returning and needed sponsors, she immediately knew she wanted to help. While trying to come up with a way to raise money, she decided the best way would be to stick to what she knows.
“I figured we’re a hair salon so why not host a cut-a-thon?”
Textures Hair Salon is usually closed on Sundays, but on Dec. 12 the business will be opening its doors and welcoming members of the community to come out and get their hair done with 100 per cent of the proceeds from every hair service going straight to the community shuttle. Chevalier said that all of the employees have donated their time to work that day. This is the first time that Textures has hosted a fundraiser of this sort.
“All of the staff, right away, were excited to be a part of this,” she said, noting that at first she wasn’t sure how they would respond when she posed the question to them. “It’s great to be able to do this for the community.”
The timing, she said, works out perfectly for people wanting to get ready for the holidays. The salon will be charging the regular price for all of its services, but people are able to donate any amount on top of that if they wish and it will all go to the shuttle.
“I want to raise a significant amount of money,” said Chevalier.
Textures Hair Salon is accepting appointments for the cut-a-thon now. Those interested can call the salon at 905-468-1558 or drop in the salon at 1615 Niagara Stone Rd.
David Mole, from Niagara-on-the-Lake Transit Ltd., the company created to operate the community shuttle, said the cut-a-thon is a real moral booster.
“I think it’s a sign of encouragement that tells us the community is really behind this,” he said, adding that this is a tangible response that will have a tangible impact for the shuttle.
When Mole and his partner in NOTL Transit, Casey McNab from Niagara Patient Transfer, announced they were launching the company to offer the community shuttle, they said they would need help from the community in the form of sponsors. At the time, the amount they needed for the 18-month pilot was $50,000. Since going live on Nov. 1, they received almost $12,000 in donations or promised donations.
“The response has been great,” said Mole. “We’ve had a wide range of donations, both little and big, from businesses in the community.”
As for service itself, the shuttle is steadily making its way back to the volume of service it was seeing before it shut down last March. Tickets for the community shuttle are available at both Simpson’s Pharmacy locations, in Virgil and in the Old Town, as well as at the town hall offices.
For more information about the community shuttle and local taxi service now provided by NOTL Transit Ltd, visit the website at www.notltransit.com.