I went to Tino’s for a haircut this morning, as I have done for just about every month since the mid 1990s. We chatted amiably as usual, and then he mentioned that Frank’s had closed down two blocks down from him. Frank Covelli had run his tiny shop since 1981 but had retired when the rent on his place went up. That means that Tino is now the only real barber left on Commercial Drive between Venables and Broadway.
Once I started looking, I quickly discovered that Tino was actually the last barber to open the Drive — and that was back when he took over Tommy’s in 1993. That surprises me, because I just don’t see men as a whole cutting their own hair, and so there will always be a need for barbers. Perhaps, as Tino thinks, they’ll go to “those Vietnamese places” where they don’t have any idea how to really cut hair; they can use the automatic clippers, he says, and that’s that. I worry more about the chains of modern “cutters” that remind me of fast food.
Either way, they will be a cheap and efficient alternative, I suppose, to the relaxed sociability of the old-fashioned barber shop. But it sure won’t be the same. I’ve told Tino that he had better not retire until I am fully bald!
At the Grandview Heritage Group site I have created a list of all the barbers that I know of who worked on the Drive.