A barber who has been cutting the hair of Fairfield County men for more than 49 years will be hanging up his shears when the building where the shop is located is torn down at the end of the month.
Aldo "Al" Melchionno, the former owner and current barber at Colonial Unisex Haircutters in Fairfield, who turns 80 on Saturday, June 26, has decided to retire when the building at 788 Post Road is torn down to make room for new development.
Melchionno, who learned to cut hair in Italy, "one-step-at-a-time," has been working since he was 14-years-old when he immigrated to America from Italy.
After learning the craft, when in the U.S., he when to apprentice school and then received his license, Melchionno said.
When he joined the Army Reserves, he would cut hair on the side to make money to come home on the holidays.
"He was able to support a wife and three children," his daughter Clara Cavalli-Chiappardi said. "He did what he had to do and made sacrifices to put each of us through private high school and college so we could have a better life. All on a barber's salary."
That's saying a lot considering haircuts were $3.25 in 1970.
Melchionno loves his profession and still goes to work every day, even after selling the shop five years ago, but keeping his barber's chair, so he can keep up with clients, their children, and now their grandchildren.
"I plan to try and stay in touch with some of my favorite clients when I retire," he said. "And when they move away and come back, many stop in to say hello."
When the official "last" haircut takes place in the shop, Melchionno plans to spend time with his wife of 57 years Edwelweis, and his eight grandchildren.
He also hopes to get caught up on his gardening and "tightening up things around the house."
"I've been really lucky and appreciate the career and the clients I've had over the years," he added.
But leaving is bittersweet for Melchionno who says after the pandemic and the lean year, it was nice to finally get back in the shop and see his friends and clients.
"He truly loves this profession and his clients," his daughter said. "Such a special man."
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