BERLIN - Much like a new haircut, Amentaâ€™s Barbershop has a new look about it.
â€śItâ€™s been awesome,â€ť said Brian Amenta, 42, owner of the shop that had been on New Britain Avenue for 10 years but relocated to 1193 Farmington Ave. in March. â€śSame old customers, and a lot of new customers, too, quicker than I thought.â€ť
The shop had a ribbon cutting on June 25.
â€śLocation, location, location,â€ť said Amenta on why he moved, in addition to the bigger space available on Farmington Avenue.
â€śThereâ€™s nothing on this road right now in terms of barbers,â€ť he said, adding that Farmington Avenue is the main business street in town, and the rent at his new location is cheaper.
With the new location came the transformation of his simple shop to a full-line barbershop with new cabinets, a raised waiting area and two TVs above the barbersâ€™ work station area.
That all was made possible with the help of Amentaâ€™s friends and his wife, Katie, the 2017 Berlin Teacher of the Year and former girls soccer coach who led Berlin High Schoolâ€™s team on an underdog post-season tournament run, he said.
â€śCome down. Itâ€™s got that town, old school feel. Thatâ€™s what we go for, the old school barbershop,â€ť said Amenta, a former basketball coach at Berlin High School who worked at the YMCA for several years. â€śCome in, talk with people, watch some sports. We always got sports on.â€ť
Cold sodas are available, and soon cold-brew coffee will be.
Amenta, who grew up in Berlin, said he began cutting hair while he was a student at Mitchell College in New London and Central Connecticut State University in the late 1990s.
He helped children at Wheeler Clinic in Plainville for a few years in the early 2000s before getting burnt out, he said.
Thatâ€™s when he decided to pursue barbering. He went to barber school for a year, then went to work at a shop near the Bank of America branch on New Britain Avenue, a year or two before the owner decided to get out of the business.
â€śKind of jumped into that, way before I wanted to, but it worked out,â€ť said Amenta. â€śSometimes youâ€™re forced to jump and itâ€™s the best thing.â€ť
Amenta took over ownership, changed the shopâ€™s name and worked at that location for a year, then relocating elsewhere on New Britain Avenue.
After having a partner for a while who didnâ€™t work out, Amenta said, he was joined in November 2017 by fellow barber Rob Winkler, who Amenta says has proven a good fit.
â€śRobâ€™s been doing it for about nine years,â€ť said Amenta â€śIâ€™ve been doing it for 15, so thereâ€™s plenty of experience.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s the people that come in that make it possible for us to do our jobs,â€ť Amenta added. â€śWe can only come in here. We canâ€™t make people come in here. A giant thank you to all my people that come in.â€ť
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.