Familiar Faces: Pat Holmes of Salon Fifty Six And Spa

Familiar Faces: Pat Holmes of Salon Fifty Six And Spa

Jan 16, 2019

Pat Holmes (sitting, left) runs the business with her daughters Cleo and Jema (fourth and third from the right, respectively).

Some businesses in Tsawwassen have been running for so long that it's difficult to imagine the town without their presence. They're as much landmarks along the peninsula as the parks and beaches.

Salon Fifty Six and Spa is just such a business, with 2018 being the celebration of their quarter century of serving the esthetical needs of Tsawwassenites.

Although the town is today renowned for its density of salons and spas, Salon Fifty Six was one of the first in the neighbourhood, along with Spa Time and Atlantis Day Spa. When asked why there are so many spas in Tsawwassen, founder Pat Holmes shrugs.

"I suppose the people of Tsawwassen like to look after themselves," she says, smiling and adding, "And it's almost become a necessity for women."

One of the first things you may notice about Pat is her distinctive accent, which hails from Yorkshire, England. Pat and her husband came to Tsawwassen in 1975 for a holiday to visit family. The couple immediately fell in love with the town's sunny personality and made a life-changing decision.

"We went back to England and said, 'Right, we're going to sell the house and we're moving,'" recalls Pat, adding her daughter Cleo was just three months old at the time.

Running a salon has been a long-standing family tradition for the Holmes family. Pat says she and her mother co-managed three salons in England. And when she opened Salon Fifty Six and Spa in Tsawwassen, it wasn't long before her daughters Cleo and Jema came on board as well.

Despite the competition for esthetics in Tsawwassen, the salon has done famously over the past 25 years, carving out its own niche. This has much to do with Pat's philosophy on being attentive to her customer's needs.

"It's a one-on-one experience. You're not sat in a salon with your feet in a bowl and six chairs going down the wall. So it's a real nice cozy atmosphere."

The salon and spa offers manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials, spray tanning, eyelash and eyebrow tinting and, of course, hair styling.

Having a salon which offers all these services in one location is a rarity, says Pat.

"So, women will come and get their nails done, feet done and then their hair. They love it because they don't have to go to another place to have that job done."

Although she's now 70, Pat says she doesn't have any plans to retire. The salon is a very social place and along with the chance to work with her daughters, Pat says her clients aren't just clients. They're her lifelong friends.

"We love it because the girls all get along," says Pat, of the eight stylists who work there as well. "We go out and we have lots of fun. We're like..."

"We're like a little family," says Cleo, finishing her mother's sentence.

Salon Fifty Six and Spa is (as the name implies) located along 56th Street, just beside Toys and Tech.