When Ralph Ferraioli started cutting hair 45 years ago, The Beatles were so popular that women used to come into the shop he worked, Harry Almonte of London on 52nd and 3rd avenue in New York City, and ask him to cut their hair like their boyfriends, giving him a great idea: Why not start a unisex shop?
Ferraioli opened the first unisex salon in Yonkers in 1970 on Central Avenue and stayed there until 1990. He started another unisex shop in Rockland County and a second in Yonkers on McLean Avenue before he sold the shops to come to Pleasantville in 1991.
"I been here for 20 years now and it's all about location," Ferraioli said. "It's 50% location and 50% management."
Ferraioli hails from Fordham Road near Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, where he never planned to be a barber. After high school, Ferraioli went to the New School for photography.
"After I got out there there wasnt much I could do besides shoot weddings, and I didn't like shooting weddings that much," Ferraioli said. "So I went for a haircut and I asked my barber, 'How much money you make doing this?' and then I decided to go to school. I had such a gift for it. After three months, I was teaching other students."
Ferraioli, an Eastchester resident, said professional services are in need in this economy.
"There still a lot of money in hair," Ferraioli said. "It's one thing that technology can't change and no matter where you go, everyone needs a haircut."
La Barberia is open seven days a week on 65 Wheeler Avenue. Stop by and say hi to Ralph or call (914) 741-1120 to make an appointment.