'It's heartbreaking to say goodbye': A long-time New Bedford barber shop is closing.
NEW BEDFORD – Since opening Your Father's Mustache in October 1982, everyone seems to know either Manny Medeiros or his barber chair. Now, after over 40 years, he’s putting down the scissors and comb for good.
“I decided a few times. But this time I kind of stuck with it," Medeiros, 71, said, adding the shop will close officially on Feb 25.
Medeiros first opened Your Father's Mustache with his brother-in-law Ken Nelson, naming the shop after the popular national chain that Nelson once worked at before joining forces. Soon after, Nelson left and hired Janice Parker to take his place. She is also retiring this year.
“Manny has become a brother, after all these years, a brother I never had,” Parker said with teary eyes. “We had a lot of laughs in this place... everyone knows each other. People said we should make a sitcom out of this place.”
Parker plans to retire to Florida with her husband, who also retires in April. But she will be back-and-forth to New Bedford to visit her family and friends.
In a yearbook full of clients that Parker made for Medeiros, she wrote: "Thank you for putting up with me for 40 years being late and Disney trips. It really doesn't seem that long because it has been enjoyable (many laughs) and a pleasure working with you."
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“Our customers are no longer our customers. They are our friends. It's heartbreaking to say goodbye,” she said.
Medeiros remembered when Purchase Street was surrounded by empty storefronts; he watched stores come and go such as Jimmy's Hot Dogs and Dusty's Magazine Store.
“Purchase Street has changed so much. It’s great to see what it has become now,” he said.
“With social media what it is today, a barbershop was still one place where, It's not social media. It's people interacting with people here. That’s what I think made this place so special to us,” he said.
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Medeiros said he has seen it all: clients getting married, having children and their grown kids coming into the barber shop.
As for the building, Medeiros said a young barber was interested in the space, but they won’t have much say as to what happens to it after they leave.
Walter Wallace, a long-time client to Medeiros, said he doesn’t know where to go next. “I’m still figuring that out,” he said.
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“I've never met his children, but I know where they live,” Medeiros said with a laugh.
James “Pug” Lopes wiped away tears with a tissue during his last appointment with Parker. “I feel bad for people who don't experience what I've experienced coming here, these 40 plus years… it was one hell of a ride.”
Mederios, who recently became a great-grandfather on Jan 18, said he wants to travel back to the Azores where he was born, hang out with the grandchildren in Maine and work in his garden.
“I'll be forever grateful, people will forever be etched in my mind… some of these people I've gotten a little out of some of them.
“I will miss them all.”
Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.
This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: New Bedford barber shop Your Father's Mustache to close