World Class Barber, Andrew Ranaletti
By Qina Liu
He is a barber now. Because that’s what he wants to be.
But Andrew Ranaletti always knew he had a job, another job, anytime he wanted it.
His grandfather Joseph Tardibuono opened Viola’s Submarine House in the 1950s.
And Ranaletti grew up making steak and cheese subs at his family’s restaurant as a third-generation heir to the business on Military Road in Niagara Falls.
But Ranaletti aspired to be a barber. It is not a small thing in life to become a barber. Being a barber is about taking care of the people.
He received his license in 2011 after studying at Shear Ego International School in Rochester.
For the past year and a half, you may have seen him by his chair at Beau Cheveux Salon & Day Spa on Niagara Falls Blvd.
He is the salon’s licensed barber.
But Ranaletti’s barber career began before he got his license, at his house, where he gave haircuts to his grandfathers, his father, his four uncles, his brother-in-law, some 16 cousins and some of his neighbors.
“I come from a large Italian family - the list kept going. By the time I got done with the last cousin, the first one wanted a haircut again,” Ranaletti said.
Barbers are born, never trained.
Some work from the standardized Barbers Manual. Not all barbers are the same.
Clean necks, even sideburns. The taper cut, the business-man cut. Also clipper cuts, shears cuts. Edging, siding, topping. Razor cuts.
Two line haircuts.
But some have an unfailing eye; they see the shape of the head, the length of forehead, the stature of the man, his age, his gravitas, the nape of the neck, the length of the chin, the width of the neck, the size and protuberance of the ears, the cast of the brow, the color of eyes and the color of the hair and its thickness or fineness, and from these a born barber knows intuitively what will look natural - which is usually the best look for a man.
The haircut is the frame of the picture of the face of a man.
Ranaletti is that type of barber, a natural.
The demand from neighbors and friends was too great - for no one could frame a face like Andy. This as much as anything led to his setting up his chair at Beau Cheveux and, because talent is always in demand, once in that elegant setting his faithful clientele expanded dramatically.
“It’s pretty crazy,” he admitted. “More and more; last Saturday, I had 30 customers and I was here all day cutting, never stopping once.”
Ranaletti is on hand from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Weekends are busiest - which is why he recommends appointments.
"Then you don’t have to wait," he said. "After all, nobody likes to wait. Everyone wants to get in and out promptly.”
One of the mutual benefits that Ranaletti and Beau Cheveux gain from their association is that it is now a one-stop-shop for the entire family.
While cosmetologists take care of women’s needs, Ranaletti offers appointments and walk-ins for men and boys.
“In the old days, husbands would drop off their wives,” he said. "Now, if the husband needs a haircut, they both come. Or the whole family comes. While the husband is getting a haircut, the wife can get any number of services from hair styling to manicures, pedicures, body work and more.”
With a barber there, the place has a welcome mat for men.
Sure, men do not have to go to barber. They can and do go to unisex chains and salons and leave with a haircut that looks good for a week, but soon grows into a horrible bowl.
The women who cut the men's hair are not usually barbers, but cosmetologists.
A barber is trained to cut with clippers. Cosmetologists use scissors.
The difference can spell the difference between a stupid-looking man's haircut and a great one that looks as good a month from now.
A barber knows how to cut a man’s hair.
Ranaletti also knows how to aid his customers in looking the right part for their role in the world.
For men whose hair is grey or white, instead of dying hair, Ranaletti offers a 're-shade,' a five-minute process that darkens white or graying hair without dye.
It lasts a month.
For younger men, Ranaletti said 'fades' have been popular in summer.
“Guys, from 18 to 40, get fades,” he said, “which is a really tight haircut that doesn’t go over your ears.”
He also offers straight razor, edge ups, beard trims and facials.
But his staple is affordable men's haircuts, which are $12.
Boy's cuts are $9.
“It is stress free,” Ranaletti said of his career. "Most people go to work every day, but for me, I don’t even feel like I’m going to work. I love being a barber.”
That wasn’t the case at his last job; in 2009, Ranaletti ended a 10-year stint as a bartender at the Seneca Niagara Casino.
“I was 27 years old and wanted to do something which wasn’t in a smoke-filled atmosphere, and something everybody would need in life,” he said. "Then I thought about being a barber. When you work at a casino, you work for others. If you’re a barber, you work for yourself. If you want a vacation, you just put a closed sign up on the door and you go away for a few days. If you want a vacation at the casino, you ask permission.”
A lesson on independence from a man who spends much of his life speaking to the back of your head, as the poet said. Then he sweeps a floor full of snippings every evening into a pile. But he is his own man "who would never for one moment dream of hurting you when your back was turned."
Narcissus of scissors, infinitely framed in the tall shop mirrors.
To make an appointment, call Andy Ranaletti at: (716) 297-6633.
Located inside Beau Cheveux Salon at 9200 Niagara Falls Blvd., Niagara Falls.
Open Tuesday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Wednesday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Thursday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; and Saturday 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
Jul 23, 2013