This summer, I decided I would start getting haircuts at a barber in my neighbourhood. It happens that there is one on Lakeshore, a short walk from 27th Street – between Baba Ali’s excellent falafel place and our vet’s, the Long Branch Animal Clinic. Like the hardware store nearby, the barber shop has been a fixture in this area as long as most people can remember.
It’s called Danny’s and it’s run by a guy named Danny. At one time, I suppose the other chairs in the place were worked by other barbers. Now, it looks like it’s just Danny, and he has the chair closest to the window. While he was cutting my hair, I asked Danny how long he had been cutting hair on the Lakeshore. He told me he had been there a long time, a very long time, and then said he started there in 1960, which happens to be the same year in which I was born.
This fellow has been cutting hair in that storefront for my entire life. I thought about how many hair cuts he’s done. Let’s say, just for fun, that he averages 10 cuts each day. I don’t know if that’s a realistic estimate or not. The first time I was in there, he was busy – there were three people in front of me. But then, I can imagine it might get slow during the week. Let’s just say 10 cuts each day. That’s 50 cuts each week, working a five day week, and 200 cuts each month. Let’s assume he takes a month of holidays each year. It that’s the case, he does about 2200 cuts each year, and over a period of 50 years, that looks like 110,000 hair cuts. That’s a lot of hair cuts.
I asked if the neighbourhood had changed a lot over the years. He said that it had, and in his opinion, it has changed for the worse. He said we don’t have the kind of industry we used to have that provided jobs for people who lived around here – like Goodyear and the paint factory. Now, he told me, there are still lots of people living in the neighbourhood, but most of them work outside the community. And, they shop in malls, where they can do all their shopping in one place. This has made it tough on businesses in the area. What he said has a ring of truth. Both Tuffy P and I, for instance, work outside the neighbourhood. We do patronize a number of the local businesses, but for many things we shop outside the area, even though neither of us go to malls very often.
We can see that it’s tough for a small business to make it along the Lakeshore through Long Branch, New Toronto and Mimico yet there are still quite a few businesses that seem to be thriving. That includes some new businesses. The population base in the community seems to be growing on the basis of some new condos being built. Hopefully, that will provide a bigger customer base for local businesses.
Talking with Danny today reminded me to try to support local businesses whenever I can.