On June 28, 2021, fire ravaged a building in downtown Lac La Biche. Next door to the fire, Selena’s Hair Design was significantly damaged and temporarily shut down. Owner Selena Cadieux contacted Portage College the next day about operating the business out of the Salon at the College’s Lac La Biche campus. At the same time, she searched for new permanent accommodations.
Cadieux has previously apprenticed Portage Hairstyling graduates and knew that the program was out for the summer, which prompted her to contact the College. “I was hoping we could continue working together,” she said.
The College readily agreed to the proposal.
“Portage is here to support the community in times of need, and we gladly accepted Selena and her team into the Salon,” said Al Bertschi, Associate Dean. “We’re pleased to provide the space so they can remain together during this difficult time.”.
Cadieux has found the College to be accommodating. Her transition has gone smoothly.
“Things are going very, very well!” she said. “I want to give a special thank you out to Al Bertschi, who was very helpful in the process of getting myself and fellow stylist set up in the Salon so quickly.”
The Lac La Biche community has also stepped up to support Cadieux and her staff. Omar Saleh from Omar’s barbershop, Yasmeen Abougouche from Jazzy’s Salon, Erin Cadieux from TNT Hairstyling & Esthetics, Moe Rahall from Moe’s barbershop, and Kendra Desmeules, Stylist and Instructor at the College.
“Kendra has been extremely welcoming and has supported our team of stylists. We can’t thank her enough,” said Cadieux.
“Small businesses in our communities are so vital to our rural economic sustainability and recovery,” said Nancy Broadbent, President and CEO of Portage College. “We are honoured to join other businesses in assisting a talented entrepreneur at a time of need. Increasing partnerships with employers in our region is a focus in the soon to be published strategic plan 2025. While a disastrous fire initiated this partnership agreement, we hope there are more mutually beneficial opportunities like this in our future.”
Cadieux plans to reopen her business out of her home in the next few months and looks forward to continuing to work with Portage’s apprenticeship Hairstyling students.
“I love to supporting our community with job opportunities and hope to continue doing so,” she said.