At 72, Paul V. Finamore is a former Marine sergeant and Marine sky diver. He's even been a champion third-degree black belt. But the battle he took on in his career became a popular one: Hair ... and the race to keep it.
Finamore is founder and chairman of Hairline Creations, which has operations in Arlington Heights, Chicago and Southwest Suburban Hickory Hills. (Another location in Mount Prospect was open from 1976 to 1986, when it closed after a fire.) Finamore and his 33 employees recently marked the company's 50th anniversary.
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"I've passed the business on to my son-in-law, Arthur Jaskula, president and daughter Stephanie Jaskula, the chief operating officer," Finamore said. "The plan is to go for another 50 and hopefully my two grandkids will take it from there."
In his younger years, Finamore wanted to be a police officer but was told he was too short, so he entered the U.S. Marines and served in Southeast Asia as a sergeant until he was discharged in 1963. He then served two more years in the reserves.
He also worked as a barber, and noticed how many clients had male-pattern baldness. So he wanted to find a way to help his customers.
By late 1963, he headed World of Wigs Manufacturing Co. and the company became international. But he also worked on another system where men could wear a hair system all the time, including in the shower, he said.
"I started the business on my mother's kitchen table, the women's wig business was starting to take off and I thought this was an opportunity," Finamore said. "My folks lent me $6,000 to purchase inventory from overseas. Timing was very important as I did not want to miss the trend."
In 1963, he said he worked hard and quickly to build the business.
His first office opened in 1964, and within 3 years, he had four locations. He shipped men and woman's hair goods throughout the world, he said.
"My focus was primarily developing custom made hairpieces," he said.
Hairline creations then operated as a division of World of Wigs, and he soon received seven patents, he said.
"My goal was to be the finest hair replacement company in the country," he said.
Wood Dale chef tapped for Le Méridien
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Asian leaders eye Schaumburg
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