Fourth-generation barber opening shop
When 25-year-old Sean Lundy hangs a barber pole on the wall at 313 Norwich-New London Turnpike next week, it won't just be a milestone in his life - he'll be carrying on a four-generation family tradition.
His grandfather and great-grandfather on his mother's side, as well as various uncles and cousins, have owned and operated barbershops in the Norwich area for more than 100 years. Lundy said he found an old census online that listed "barber" as the occupation of his great-grandfather, Joseph Piacenza.
"Lundy's is not just another barbershop - it's a family legacy," said Lundy's mother, Lynnette Lundy.
Despite the fact that he chose the family trade, Lundy said he feels like he "missed the window" to learn much about barbering from his grandfather, who is now almost 87 and closed his shop years ago.
It wasn't until after graduating from Montville High School in 2007 that Lundy decided to become a barber. He attended the Shear Style School of Cosmetology in Norwich part time while working at Panera Bread to earn a living.
Lundy said the broad cosmetology education required to get a hairdresser's license is deterring prospective barbers, making him one of a "dying breed" in Connecticut. While there were many parts of the education - such as nail care and massage - that he wasn't interested in, Lundy said it was worth the investment to obtain the barber's license.
Still, it wasn't at Shear Style that Lundy learned what he called "the art of barbering"- that came at Wayne's Barber Shop in Groton, where he shadowed Wayne for a few months.
The type of barbering he learned at Wayne's is what Lundy said he will give his customers. It's done by hand with a comb and a pair of clippers - "totally different" from what is taught in cosmetology school, he said.
Lundy, who signed the lease on his Route 32 property in mid-January, said he is "very excited" to open the doors of Lundy's Barber Shop soon. His shop is located between Cakes and Cones and Friendly's Pizza and he expects to be open for business in the first week of February.
"I want my shop to be different," said Lundy, who chose the Uncasville location because he grew up with the people in town, although he moved to Groton two years ago. He said he's unusual in that his path to barbering has been done "the right way"- by going to cosmetology school, obtaining a license and shadowing a barber to learn the trade.
"I want a newer generation of barbers to have a place to appreciate," he explained.
Lundy has begun setting up the shop - with black couches at the entrance, a large mirror on the wall and a counter toward the back - but he still has a ways to go. He's awaiting the delivery of several items ordered online, including chairs, floor mats, a four-foot-long barber's station and a child booster seat.
He's also waiting on a barber's pole, which he plans to mount on the wall next to the window so it can been seen from outside the shop.
He doesn't have kids yet, but Lundy said he'd love to teach any future children how to carry on the family trade. Even if they decided not to pursue it, it would be great to have something to fall back on, said Lundy.
"These days, a trade is the way to go," he said. "I'd love to see the day they could replace a barber with a machine."
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