Moving Picture: 50 years of Wauconda barbershop stories
Tony Castelluccio has owned Tony's Barber Shop in Wauconda since 1964. He will be retiring later this year after nearly 50 years of being a barber. "No complaints with barbering, it's been very good to me," he said. Tony started barbering with his uncle in 1963, when they opened the shop in its present location in November of 1964.
Looking around Tony's shop you notice all kinds of mementos, pictures and souvenirs from a lifetime at the same job in the same location. A stock certificate issued by his beloved Green Bay Packers hangs prominently. A rickety stereo system sits in a corner featuring an old reel-to-reel tape deck, used for years because Tony got tired of listening to commercials on the radio all day long. And now, a seemingly out-of-place iPod loaded with 10,000 songs, mostly oldies, sits on top of the stereo.
In another part of the shop, framed next to a crack in the wall, is Barber Shop License Number One, issued in 1969 by the village of Wauconda "It cost two dollars for one year," Castelluccio said. "Two dollars because we had two barber chairs in here. Only one year because the village said it cost more to print the license than the two bucks, so they kind of gave up on it."
The customers are vintage as well. Milan Pokorny claims he's been getting his hair cut there since 1963, first by Tony's uncle, then by Tony himself. Even Milan's wife would sometimes get her hair cut by Tony. Another longtime customer, Art Billen, says, "I can't remember when I started coming here, my father-in-law brought me here, probably 1964." As Art settles into a chair he waits for those three magic words Tony has probably asked a million times. "Same as usual?"
"Hard to believe that I'm working on, in some cases, four generations of families. I've done grandfathers, I mean, I go all the way back to some great-grandfathers, unbelievable," Castelluccio said. "I never thought I'd still be here at 65 years old. That's what happens when you're in the same spot for almost 48 years. I think I'm gonna sign another lease just to go to 50!"
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