Julie Cromar, (nee Hart) was born in Wales to parents Brian and Patricia Hart. The middle of three sisters, she moved with her family from Wales to Canada in 1966, only to return to Wales in 1967, and then back to Canada in 1971, settling in Fox Creek Alta., then Olds, and finally Fernie.
As a child, she had a passion for doing hair. “I did Gran’s hair, and every doll in the house had braids,” she shares. It was only natural then, that at the age of 16 she would head off to Lethbridge to hairdressing school, a vocation which also saw her take training in San Francisco.
Julie secured a position at one of the best shops in Calgary, and, on a leave of absence she returned to Fernie in 1980. It was on this trip that, on a blind date she met ‘the love of her life,’ Alan (Butch) Cromar. “We both knew right away,” she says of the way she and Butch felt about each other. This was proven when, on a bus trip to Reno with her bowling league, they could not bear to be apart and Butch flew her back home to Fernie.
Technically still on a leave of absence, Julie started teaching at a hairdressing school in the Crowsnest Pass where she remained for one year.
In 1982, Julie and Butch were married. As a self-proclaimed city girl, Julie laughs, “I begged, can we move to the city sometime, to which Butch replied yes, and then we moved to Hosmer.” By the age of 22, Julie had moved 36 times.
Positions followed with Dorothy’s Boutique, and then hairdressing house to house. She then went to work for Kim Serwatkewich at Mirror Images. “If it wasn’t for Kim, I would not be a hairdresser today. She convinced me to come and work for her. She is the best businesswoman I have met. I do thank her for my career choice, “Julie confides.
Julie and Butch welcomed their children, Clayton in 1985, and Krystle in 1987. It was in September of 1988 that Julie opened shop in her Hosmer home where she continues to conduct business. “I thought I would only be there until the kids went to school,” she laughs. During this time she started working one day a week at Lilac Terrace, as hairdresser to the residents. ‘One by one my customers passed on, and when the last of my original clients was gone, I knew it was time to say goodbye,” she recalls.
Admittedly, Julie is not a fan of winter, and if she had her way, she would leave the valley in January and return in April, and continue hairdressing for the rest of the year. “It is nice to see winter through the skier’s eyes,” she says as she recounts how they look at the powder in a different way. “A couple of years ago we went on a cruise to the Caribbean, I loved it so much, seeing things I have never seen. I would recommend it to everyone. If I could do anything again…,” Julie smiles.
Julie attributes much of her happiness to her parents who set an amazing example for a long and happy marriage. “My Dad is the most patient man ever,” she beams, and concedes that she married a man just like her Dad. “My Mom is a mother’s mother. She just knows how to do things. She has been a great role model in my life.”
Julie readily admits that a few of the things that bring her joy are her customers, some of which she has had for over 30 years, playing poker, and of course, time with Butch. “Butch can honestly do the work of three 20-year-olds. He is made of iron, and is a very special person. He has made my life,” Julie smiles.
With a ready smile and the kindest of hearts, Julie Cromar is this week’s “face of the valley.”