Local barber starts next chapter with opening of new shop
By Jordyn Grzelewski
Growing up, Brian Ferguson liked to go downtown to get a haircut.
He’d go to barber Luca DiMatteo, who practiced his trade in downtown Youngstown for more than 30 years. Over time, DiMatteo became a mentor to the teenage Ferguson, encouraging him to one day open his own barber shop.
“He used to tell me, ‘Go to barber school.’ He talked me into it,” Ferguson recalled.
That’s exactly what Ferguson did – and today, he reflects on it all from the new home of Mahoning Ave. Barber Shop, a space at 10 Lexington Place on the West Side that is Ferguson’s own. The new shop marks the next chapter of Ferguson’s story as a barber, which began 20 years ago this December.
After graduating from Chaney High School, Ferguson went to barber school. From there, at 19, he bought a building on West Heights Avenue, the street where he grew up, and opened his own shop in the 400-square-foot space. Years later, he moved to a bigger space on Mahoning Avenue and was there for 11 years.
Recently, however, it was time for a change – and when Ferguson stepped into the shop on Lexington Place that his mother found for him, he knew it was the right place for Mahoning Ave. Barber Shop.
The main room has plenty of space for Ferguson and fellow barber Matt Ruble, as well as for Ferguson’s extensive collection of antique barber chairs and sports memorabilia.
The collection of chairs spans decades, from the 1800s to the 1960s. On each one, football jerseys from different teams and players are draped. All the items have come to Ferguson by chance.
“They really found me,” he said of the old-fashioned chairs. “People would say, ‘I’ve got one here, I’ve got one here.’ Now I’ve got too many,” he said, laughing.
Downstairs from the barber shop is a basement and full kitchen that Ferguson plans to rent out for events. He plans to open the “Little Hall Down Under” in the spring.
“Moving up here, we got two businesses for one building,” he said. “The building felt like it was meant to be.”
To reach Ferguson at the new shop, call 330-581-4834.
In the future, Ferguson, who has two sons with his wife, April, hopes to pass down the business to the next generation. His 14-year-old son is already showing an interest in following in his footsteps. “This is my legacy building for my family,” he said.
Ferguson talked as he cut hair. Sitting in his chair on this particular day was Dustin Allen, 18, who he considers family.
Allen has been getting his hair cut by Ferguson his whole life – Ferguson even gave Allen his first haircut as a child.
“I like seeing him,” Allen said of why he likes coming to Mahoning Ave. Barber Shop. “It’s a nice family business.”
These types of relationships are not only the key to being a barber, but also Ferguson’s favorite part of the job.
“My guys have been with me 20 years,” he said. “They’re not only customers, they’re friends.”