This morning, a little dull and cloudy from an overnight shower, we sat in Jodies apt until noon, at which time, we had decided we had better go out and try the Vietnamese Restaurant that we had passed several times since being here. The sun was out, the breeze blowing the hair of all 3 of us as we strolled the streets of Montreal yet again !!
As Ron walked beside me wearing the new casual hat he purchased in Quebec city and looking quite debonaire, I looked at him and said ``Ron, You need a haircut and there is a place just up here that we will pass. I stopped in there the other day when I purchased some groceries on my way home alone when Jodie had an appointment and asked if they take walk-ins.`` In answer to me question - they all shook their heads ( 2 or 3 men and a couple of women ) and said ``yes, anytime. `` I told them then that I would be back with my husband ``sometime`` They said great !!
Today, we stopped in there and again. ROXY Coiffeurs Pour Hommes et Femmes I spoke for Ron and asked if one of them had time for a mens haircut today. They said yes in 10 minutes. Ron sat down and waited while Jodie and I went 1/2 a block away to return an item that she didnt want. Upon our return, Ron was in the chair talking away to the barber he had gotten. We couldnt hear anything..but Jodie and I sat and waited. They asked if we wanted coffee to which we declined as we were headed for lunch after this. I watched this barber as he cut Rons hair and thinking to myself `` this is an excellent cut !! `` Keeping in mind, Ron hasnt got that much hair !! He`s a man and it is very short !! The precision, time and care of this man as he lifted the hair and cut and shaped, he blew dry and then moussed and then blew dry again. Of course, at home I never see the barber cutting Rons hair. But this man impressed me !!
When Ron was done - Daniel - his barber - called me over and said I must come downstairs and see the *museum`` All 3 of us following the Daniel wound down some narrow steps and at the bottom see a room filled with gold records and black ones, and photos - I cant describe !! Then he says pointing to a photograph `` This is Gino Vannelli . Do you know him ``
We said yes, The musical artist from numerous years ago . . . . YES, we had it right !! Then we were shown more photographs & the history of the Vannelli family ... Little Italy in Montreal !! (I will attach photos below.)
The owner of this barber shop is Vick Vannelli. He is the uncle of Gino Vannelli. He is 80 years old and still works 2 or 3 days a week. Hates to give it up. He has clients that still come to him for over 60 years. In the Vannelli family Vic`s father started the barber shop when it was downtown Montreal and the 5 sons were all barbers including Vic. We saw the photo of the 6 Vannelli family barbers in the original shop all at their 6 chairs with Vick being one of them. Eventually Vick took over the shop completely and moved it out of downtown Montreal to its present location. He then hired the present staff who have stayed with him at this location over the many years. They have 3 shops in various districts of Montreal.
Vick plans are to retire in the near future and he has had Chinese families approaching and wanting to buy out the businesses BUT he says he will not sell to them as he doesnt think that the business will be run for the clients as he has run it over the last 60 years !! SO -o-o-o Daniel has plans to buy the businesses from Vick.
So nice to see this in people that we do not even know. !! For Vick its not all about the money he could get from the Chinese - he probably doesnt need it anyway - its more about the client/business relationships that he has built up for 60 yrs and even after retiring wants his clients to be happy. SO-o-o-o-o nice to see this in this day and age. !!! We went into that shop for a 15 minute haircut and more than an hour later - we walked out knowing all about the Vannelli family and the barbershop business !! Even more than the haircut - - it was an awesome experience meeting and talking to them.
Jodie wrote on her facebook :::
My dad had an awesome time getting his hair cut at the local Italian barber in my neighbourhood and chatting with Gino Vannelli's uncle.
To which her Italian friend replied within minutes ::
- Roberto Silvestri ah yes, Vinny Vannelli... stalwart denizen of Little Italy.
- Now your dad has a real Mtl story to tell!
- Jodie Nicole Beck Vinny is the uncle? or the shop owner? The guy said his name was Vic.
- Roberto Silvestri OK - called my dad, and you're right, it's Vic (Vittorio) ... I bow my head in shame for not having known myself !
- Jodie Nicole Beck ... Somehow I KNEW you would have the inside scoop
We walked far after that, reminiscing about our experience with the Italian barbershop. It really was interesting !
If you dont know Gino Vannelli as a musical artist - here`s a bit of info and you can get tons more by just putting in his name ::
GinoVannelli (born , 1952) is an Italian-Canadian singer, songwriter, musician and composer. Early years. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Vannelli is one of three sons born to Russ ...
Vannelli, Gino ... In the late 1970s pop singer GinoVannelli was considered a disco sex symbol, with his thick, curly black hair, flashing dark eyes ... One of three sons of Joseph and Delia Vannelli, Gino Vannelli grew up in Montreal, Canada. His father was an aspiring singer who passed on his talent and interest to all three of his boys, but when Vannelli was ten, his father abruptly quit singing to take over the family barbershop business. However, Vannelli continued to hold his own dream of a musical career. By the age of 15, Gino began writing songs. Just out of high school, he signed his first recording contract with RCA under the pseudonym Vann Elli, but went on to study music at McGill University.......
Once again, we feel like we have had a great & interesting day !! And like I said in an earlier blog, I love this city !! We have had so much fun with our daughter !!
Photos of our barber shop experience below.