MARTINS FERRY - Don Falbo Sr. of Falbo's Barber Shop at 22 N. Fifth St. in Martins Ferry will soon mark his 60th year in business.
Falbo often relates the story of how his father sat him on his knee when he was about 7 years old and told him he would be a barber. He added that one of his father's close friends was a barber. Falbo was one of eight children and was honored to be chosen out.
He graduated from Moler Barber College in Wheeling in 1952 and opened his business in 1956 after working with an established barber for several years. A retiring barber offered to sell Falbo the Fifth Street site. He was the youngest barber in the area at that time. Now approaching 80, Falbo is still passionate about his work and makes a lasting impression on his customers. The loyal base of clientele, some of whom have come to him for decades for a haircut, testify to that.
T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK
Don Falbo Sr. marks his 60th year as a barber in Martins Ferry. State Rep. Lou Gentile, left, presented him a proclamation this week honoring his success.
Falbo's two children, Don Jr. and Jamie, have followed in his footsteps opening a barber practice in the same building. Both are graduates of Wheeling Barber College. Together, their practice sees clients from as far afield as Akron and Barnesville.
They say their family's clientele is a result of both excellence in technique and in the sociable atmosphere the business provides.
"We like to say 'the haircut is free, $10 for the entertainment,'" Don Jr. said.
Falbo has been named Best Ohio Valley Barber of the Year, second year in a row and counting.
He has also designed hairpieces for some of his customers.
State Rep. Lou Gentile stopped by Wednesday to congratulate Falbo and present him with with a proclamation honoring him on behalf of the Ohio General Assembly.
"I think it's a testament to the kind of person Don is," he said, noting the difficulty in remaining in business over a long period and in these difficult times. He noted that Falbo has proved himself through quality of work. "He's a real centerpiece of Martins Ferry. It's an honor for me to recognize people in the community who achieve and have a lot of success."
Gentile thanked former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson and Martins Ferry resident Richard Hord, both long-time and satisfied clients, for urging recognition of Falbo's 60th anniversary.
DeFrank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.