Jennifer Dubois wishes it was all a bad dream.
As a fire destroyed Lang’s Café on April 5, Dubois watched the flames slowly encroach on her salon next door.
“As the time went by, you just knew that it was getting worse, and worse and worse,” said Dubois.
While driving back to the salon the next day, the reality of what happened began to hit Dubois. The fire didn’t destroy her business, but the damages are still extensive.
Dubois opened Miyosiwin Salon Spa in February of last year. The salon specializes in promoting Indigenous culture, and its staff is knowledgeable about Indigenous protocols and traditions when it comes to hair.
Born on George Gordon First Nation, Dubois has been a hair stylist in Regina for more than 13 years. It had always been her dream to open up her own business.
Dubois now has to go through that process all over again. She estimates 90 per cent of the items in the salon are unsalvageable due to water and smoke damage.
That includes furniture, pedicure chairs, salon basins and much more.
“Everything in there was the way that I wanted it to be. It was perfect. I don’t want to get new stuff. I just want everything that I had before this had happened. And now we’re forced to look at replacing everything cause we don’t have a choice,” said Dubois.
Although her insurance will cover some of the damages, Dubois said she will still be out a lot of money due to required renovations.
People in the community have rallied to help Dubois. A GoFundMe page was started that has now raised $3,600. Giselle O’Watch, one of the salon’s employees, is putting on a Chili and Bannock Sale at Carry the Kettle Frist Nation on Thursday to help Dubois restart her business.
O’Watch started working at Miyosiwin as an aesthetician and nail technician in October. O’Watch said it was her dream to work for Dubois since the salon opened.
“So to have my dreams being broken, it’s kind of heartbreaking to know that that’s her dream as well that just kind of got destroyed,” said O’Watch.
Dubois has also been contacted by Mother Teresa Middle School. Students from the school have offered to help her clean up and remove damaged items.
“We’re all very emotional just to see the type of support that is out there in the community,” said Dubois.
It may be six to eight months before Miyosiwin can re-open. There’s also no guarantee it can stay in the same location.
The fire got into the building’s attic. Daylight can be seen pouring through burnt sections of the ceiling of the salon’s laundry room.
Engineers have to assess the structural integrity of the building, and Dubois is hoping she’ll be told the salon can remain at its location on 1751 Broad St.
Several other businesses next to Lang’s Café were also affected by the fire. Wonderland Entertainment Centre, Empowered Fitness Regina and Jin Pal Hapkido have had to temporarily close their doors since the fire. Wascana Donair & Shawarma has not issued any statements, but was also closed on Wednesday.