Northampton barbershop that was at the heart of community closes after 103 years
A Northampton barbershop that has been in business for 103 years has ceased trading after its long-term custodian died.
The Hervey Street business opened in The Mounts in 1913, eventually passing into the hands of Ronald Garofalo in 1948 when it became Ron’s Hairdressing Salon.
Simply known as ‘Ron’s’, it catered for residents of The Mounts and factory workers.
Ronald’s son Stephen took it on in the late 1980s, but the barbershop has now closed following his death at the end of last month.
Stephen’s brother Paul, who grew up in the shop and accommodation upstairs along with his four siblings, said: “It’s such a shame.
“The place used to be the centre of the community. There was always people in there, everybody smoking and chatting, exchanging stories.
“People like to go and talk about life out the way of their families.
“Stephen kept it like that as much as he could. He still used the wooden plank that children would sit on as a kind of booster seat while they had a trim.
“The outside looks similar to the day it opened. It is the end of an era.”
Stephen’s sister, Christina, said: “It was just a really traditional place, People would just call in for a cup of tea and exchange a bit of news.”
Paul added: “I’m now in my 60s and it’ll be weird having to pay someone to cut my hair for the first time. There was always a member of the family to do it before.
“Stephen was the same, and my brothers. I don’t think he ever paid for a haircut in his life.”
Ron Garofalo came from a family of barbers, and his parents move to south London from Italy. All their sons also became barbers, so when Ron died in 1988, Stephen was compelled to carry on the tradition.
He continued to make the business successful but actually wanted to be a full-time musician.
Paul said: “Stephen followed in dad’s footsteps, but he was more into his drumming.
“He did everything from punk to blues to soul, and he loved it. They all used to rehearse in the back room. The 1980s punk band he was in, Jazz Butcher, toured Europe and was just about to tour America when he died.”
St Michael’s and All Angels Church, which had only planned for 70 mourners, had to find space for 400 friends, family and customers Stephen had amassed throughout his 56 years.
Afterwards, an event at the Picturedrome pub saw several of the bands he was in - including Soul Syndicate and Moses- reform to play in his honour.
Last Saturday the doors finally closed on more than a century of wet shaves short, back and sides with an all-day party. An impromptu gig by Jazz Butcher finished at 2am the next morning.
The aftermath for the Garofalo children has been a mixture of sadness and happy nostalgia.
Christina said: “We all grew up there, and it was my dad’s place and my brother’s place. It’s very emotional for me that it is all over.
“We’ve got some great memories, though.”