Messina's Barber Shop opened downtown at 60 Maple Street in January, but don't mistake it's twenty two year old owner Tony Messina as a newcomer to the industry.
The lifelong Danvers resident began cutting hair in his parents basement at just fifteen years old, practicing the art on willing teenage friends. Over the next few years, the teenage barber honed his craft on his ever growing clientele, while at the same time hanging out with friends and making a little money on the side. The small business was so successful, it wasn't long before he installed his own barbers chair in the basement shop.
After graduating from in 2007, the then-eighteen year old got his first official job cutting hair in a Saugus barber shop where the owners, "took a chance," on the kid with the skills, but without his official license.
"I worked there for three or four years while I went to school," explained Messina. After attending cosmetology program where he received his hair dressing license, Messina enrolled in The New England Hair Academy in Boston. There, he received his barber's Master License in 2010.
"Because I actually have my hair dressing license, too, I can do all types of hair cuts," he said. " I try new types of haircuts all the time, if I see something new, I like to try it."
The opening of the barber shop in Danvers was just the next obvious step towards a career he seemed destined for, and Messina is taking it all in stride.
The decor of the space is a representation of the owner's personality: trendy and masculine, with glossy dark-wood floors, gray walls, and a half-dozen plasma screen TVs, set strategically at eye level.
The hair cutting stations are delineated by black and chrome Husky toolboxes used to store the hair cutting essentials, while the custom designed neon green barbers pole spinning outside has received perhaps the most customer reaction.
"I put the typical red and white barber pole decal on the door, but I think the green pole out front stands out more, and goes with the theme of the place," he explained.
Although Messina's grandfather Frank is a retired former barber years ago in East Boston, he insisted he had to learn this skill on his own.
"He always told me never to be a barber because when he was a barber back in the sixties, the style changed," Messina explained. "He said the Beatles put him out of business with their hair...so it didn't work out too good for him."
He added with a laugh,"But he comes in to get his hair cut, he loves it now."
Located near and in Danvers Square, the location seemed perfect to Messina who said, "I thought it was a good spot, right in the center of everything, and the parking isn't that bad, there are a lot of spots around here."
Most importantly, Messina stands by his work, claiming he delivers the highest quality cuts around. "I hand picked my barbers. We only have four of us right now, we could definitely use more, but I haven't found anyone with the talent," he said.
The shop has been bustling since its opening and has a steady stream of new walk-ins every day, referred by friends, who have become return customers. Despite the younger demographic embracing the new shop as 'their place,' the twenty-two year old pointed out he sees clients of all ages depending on the time of day.
He explained, "We pretty much have it all, early in the morning is older guys, after 5 p.m. the younger guys get out of work, depends on the time; after school we get the younger kids. Our prices are competitive; a lot of our customers come in every week, so we have to keep it affordable for them."
The best thing about owning his own barber shop? For Messina, it's pride in ownership and having the autonomy to run things his way. He added, "It's only been a few months, so I'm still figuring it all out."
Messina's Barber Shop
- 60 Maple St.
- Danvers, MA 01923
- Tue- Fri: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
- Sat. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- (978) 304-1851