BOARDMAN -- In the mid-1980s, a bartender and a steel worker, both with artistic talent, took some career twists and turns. They wound up crossing paths, and that resulted in a successful hairstyling salon.
John Cera started John-David Salon in 1984. The shop was originally called Haircut 100. David Sciortino began working there and in 1987 became a partner in the business.
Cera had been a bartender at the Park Inn and then went to California for a while. When he came back to the Youngstown area he planned to attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh's Culinary School but instead went to a local beauty school.
"I really enjoy being creative and artistic. I had to do something that utilized that interest, and doing hair was a perfect career for me," he said.
He added: "Most artists work in solitude in a quiet room. I like being with people and having that interaction. So when I'm cutting or coloring someone's hair it is truly an artistic form of work, but yet there is that personal factor."
Sciortino had worked at Republic Steel and has done airbrushing on cars and motorcycles as a sideline.
"About the time the mills started closing I was dating a girl who was a hairdresser, and she asked me to cut her hair. I realized that I had a knack for it, so I went to beauty school," he said.
After Sciortino finished school he heard Cera had an opening at his shop. "We really didn't know each other, but we knew of each other, mostly from John's bartending days at the Park Inn," Sciortino said.
He started at the shop, first as an assistant, shampooing and cleaning up, and he began accumulating a clientele.
In 1987 Cera and his wife decided to open another shop near Youngstown State University. Around that time he invited Sciortino to buy into the Boardman shop.
Over the years Cera and Sciortino have remodeled the shop, doubled its size and changed the name. "We do all the carpentry and remodeling work ourselves," said Sciortino. The business has eight employees and is a full-service salon.
"One of the main advantages of owning a business like this is you can set your own schedule. My wife and I had our second child earlier this year and love the fact that I can spend more time with my family. That is very important to me," Sciortino said.
Cera said having a business can be frustrating at times, "but it's great to be able to control your destiny. Right now there are more salons and chairs in this area than there are stylists. When someone comes here to work, we make sure they bring just the right blend to the mix, so we have a unique offering to present," he said.