© DAVE STEWART/THE GUARDIAN
Barber Joe Punzo has started his own business on the ground floor of a new apartment building at the corner of Prince and Grafton Streets in Charlottetown. Punzo was working at Rose's Barber Shop on Prince Street until a fire forced them out last May.
Local barber, displaced by fire last year, decides to go into business for himself
Joe Punzo can't imagine a life without his scissors.
The 72-year-old Charlottetown barber can't imagine cutting hair anywhere else but in his old neighbourhood.
Punzo was back in business recently, less than a year after a fire forced him out of Rose's Barber Shop where he worked. Now, he's in business for himself.
The shop is simply called Joe's Barber Shop.
Punzo's shop, a stone's throw away from the apartment building where Rose's was, is on the ground floor at 198 Grafton Street in the new 21-unit apartment building built by Charlottetown developer Philip O'Halloran. He doesn't just work there. Punzo and his wife, Susanna, will soon be moving into one of the upstairs apartments.
"Philip called me and said he wanted to open a barber shop in the building and he wanted me to run it,'' Punzo said. "I went out and bought brand new equipment. I wanted it to be a men's barber shop.''
Punzo, a native or Sicily, has been cutting hair since he was 10 years old. He moved to Ontario when he was 14 years old and eventually started trimming some of the biggest names in National Hockey League history - Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Bob Pulford, Frank and Peter Mahovlich, Dave Keon, Red Kelley and former Toronto Maple Leafs owned Harold Ballard.
He's more than content to be working now out of a modest two-seat barber shop on Grafton Street.
"I've been cutting hair for 60 years. I like what I'm doing and I like the neighbourhood. It's clean and safe. That's why I decided to live upstairs.''
Punzo said he and Savard talked about working out of the same spot like they did before but things just didn't work out and Punzo decided he was going to venture out on his own. He's been cutting hair at Go Cuts in the Kirkwood Mews mall since the fire.
O'Halloran said he knew quickly after he met Punzo that it was the right fit.
"And the more we talked the more it made sense for him to live upstairs and cut hair downstairs,'' O'Halloran said.
Punzo isn't planning to retire anytime soon.
"I tried retirement for six months. I was just going crazy. I enjoy what I do; I enjoy talking to people. You get to know everything talking politics and sports. I don't want to retire. I love doing what I'm doing.''
He's open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.