MANTENO (AP) – The changing of the guard in Manteno’s barber shops has gone smoothly: No nicks, no gouges. No waiting.
The brothers Pasquale and Adriano Summa moved into their new downtown location, unaware that veteran Bob Clodi was about to announce the end of his 52-year cutting career in December. But there were no clipper wars, not even a close shave.
“I’m loving retirement. It’s wonderful. I don’t know how I had time to work,” Clodi said. “This week I’ve been painting the porch. And I’m going to see my grandkids’ games. It was the right time to retire.”
“The only hair I’m going to cut now will be my kids’ and grandkids’,” he said. “I used to dread cutting them, because I was tired after a full day at work. Now, I look forward to it.”
The Summa brothers bring the same attitude. They say they first dreamed of owning a shop together in barber college, and mainstreet shop in Manteno is perfect, despite the 25-minute drive from their homes in Frankfort.
“We come from a long family of barbers,” said Pasquale, 29. “Our grandfather, our uncles and a cousin were barbers. And there were beauticians, too.”
“We want to investigate it more,” said Adriano, 26. “We don’t know how many more there might be.”
While the Summas come from a different generation than Clodi, they offer some old-fashioned services, including a full shave with a straight razor and hot towels.
“We want to do it all, old-fashioned to new fashioned,” Adriano said. “We’ll shave in the graphics for the kids, if that’s what they want. Or we’ll do the old-fashioned cut with a razor trim around the edges.”
To show their commitment to multiple generations, they offer a $24 father-son combination deal.
“And we offer a $10 haircut to anyone 65 or older. They’ve worked hard enough. They deserve a break,” Pasquale said.
The brothers said their search for the right location began with some investigative trips, starting in Monee and heading south. They liked Manteno for the potential growth they saw. Clodi’s retirement and the loss of barbers in Beecher and Bradley just made it a little better.
For Clodi, Manteno felt right after he first tested his skills in Kankakee.
“I was a Cabery kid and Kankakee was a little too big for me,” he said. “A guy said I ought to try Manteno and I liked here.”
He started when haircuts were $2, and he became something of an expert on the classic flat-top style.
“I can tell you this: I didn’t go one day in my whole career when I didn’t do a flat-top,” he said, adding that he’s happy the Summas are “real” barbers, not hair stylists.
“The difference is that a good haircut lasts you four weeks. A ‘style’ is gone the next day,” he said.
He added that he never really got tired of the job. “Just my legs got tired of standing,” he said. “And now that I’m retired, I’m going to walk and sit, but I’m not just going to stand like that anymore.”
But the Summa brothers are looking forward to that chance.
“My goal now is to save my money and someday buy a house and move down here,” Adriano said. “We want Bob to come over for a haircut. We want to meet him. And we want to stay as long as he did.”
Online: The (Kankakee) Daily Journal, http://bit.ly/1rNkmaN
Information from: The Daily Journal, http://www.daily-journal.com
This is an Illinois Exchange story shared by The (Kankakee) Daily Journal.