SAUGUS — George’s Barber Shop has been styling customers for 115 years, and now it’s sporting a new look of its own.
The shop is run by Mike Moriello, a fourth generation barber who followed in the hair-clipping footsteps of his father, grandfather, and great grandfather — all of whom were named George. His great-grandfather opened the Jackson Street business in 1902 when he moved to the United States from Genoa, Italy. But the Board of Barbering didn’t begin regulating the practice of barbering until 1931, said Board of Registration for Cosmetology and Barbering spokesperson Chris Goetcheus.
“Four generations in a row have gotten into the family business,” said Moriello. “We are the oldest family owned and operated barbering business in the country. There are a few other old ones kicking around that have been bought and sold or moved locations over the years. We’ve always been here.”
Adorned with antiques integral to the business’ history, including a pair of hand clippers, a hair dryer, and a chair that dates back more than 100 years, the newly renovated barber shop is a mix of old and new.
“Growing up people would say ‘are you going to be a barber like your father?’ and I would say no. As I got older, I started to think about it more and realized what a great reputation my family before me has built here and I wanted to be a part of it.”
The shop will celebrate its first major renovation and expansion since its inception with a grand re-opening and open house on Monday. The renovated shop will feature twice as many chrome seats and double the floor space. The staff will expand to include eight barbers, and hours will be expanded later into the day. The shop will also be open on Mondays, Moriello said.
“I think part of the reason we’ve lasted so long is that we try to stay current and we keep a nice, clean, up-to-date shop,” Moriello said. “We have old-fashioned chrome barber chairs that were my grandfather’s, but we also have flat screen TVs in front of them. It’s a blend of old school style with a modern flare to it.”
The barber shop offers everything from an old-fashioned straight edge razor shave with hot towels and hot lather to boys’ cuts with designs buzzed on the sides. Lifelong customers who moved out of Saugus travel from surrounding cities and towns to return for a haircut at the place they visited as kids, which is something Moriello said he prides himself on.
“We made a lot of friends along the way,” he said. “We know generations of families. My grandfather passed away a long time ago and I still have guys come in and say ‘I used to play golf with your grandfather.’ I’m proud to say that we’re expanding. It’s going as good as ever after 115 years.”