Manitoulin’s newest hairstylist, Contraband Cuts, opens in Gore Bay

Michelle Paling of Contraband Cuts has opened a studio in Gore Bay.

GORE BAY—While Michelle Paling of Contraband Cuts (a newly opened business in Gore Bay) and her family were not all that familiar with Manitoulin Island, they quickly realized this was an ideal place for them to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

“We weren’t too familiar with Manitoulin Island when we moved up here, but since we got here and the longer we are here we love it just that much more,” stated Ms. Paling, who opened her new hair salon business in the old Stedman’s store on Meredith Street in downtown Gore Bay last week.

“We moved from Hagersvville (Ontario),” Ms. Paling told The Expositor. “My husband and I and our two kids decided it was time for a change from the busy hectic life of southern Ontario. And we love things like hiking and being outside and our kids are involved in hockey. So, the Island and Gore Bay is the perfect place for us and we wanted to become part of the community.”

“We’ve been here since September and we have found everyone to be very welcoming, everyone is so friendly,” said Ms. Paling. 

While she has had extensive experience in hairdressing, Ms. Paling said, “I wasn’t sure I was going to do hair when I got here. I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. But it seemed everyone was telling me and encouraging me to open a hair salon.”

“I know commercial space is hard to get, but I was lucky to get his space (on Meredith Street) to open the business,” said Ms. Paling. “I’ve been in the (hair salon) industry since 2003, having also worked with dermatologists as a medical aesthetician, and I have managed salons/spas, owned my own salon and more.”

“I will be providing cutting edge haircuts and waxing services,” said Ms. Paling. “We will also be doing men’s hair cutting and children’s haircutting.”

When asked where Ms. Paling got the idea for the name of her business, Contraband Cuts, she explained, “in 2020 with the pandemic, the province banned hair cutting taking place (in commercial establishments). They made it illegal. I was working at a large salon with 25 people and with the first lockdown we had to shut down. Then we had to go through two other lockdowns,” and it was through all this she got the idea for the business name.

Contraband Cuts is open Tuesday and Wednesdays from 9 am to 5 pm, and Thursday from 11 am to 8 pm and Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. On Saturday the business is open by appointment only. For appointments call 705-348-1908.