End of a local institution: At 90, a Reno barber closes shop

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RENO, NEV., (KOLO)-- Friday, Reno businessman Gil Mandagaran showed up for his regular visit to Enzo Buonamici's barber shop. The banter follows a pattern set decades ago.

"I came for a good haircut," Mandagaran says.

"That doesn't mean you're going to get one," answers Buonamici.

And so it goes。 friendly thrust and parry。

The tools -- clippers ,scissors -- haven't changed much either since Gil's first visit or his son's or grandson's。

Enzo has seen generations through boys' regular, crew cuts, D-A's, Beatles cuts on to adulthood.

"Some are good。 Some are bad," he says, "I don't care much for this styling stuff。 I like just a regular haircut。"

There have been recent changes。

Coronavirus restrictions dictate no magazines to flip through while waiting for your turn and these days customers wait outside to be invited in one-by-one。

And Enzo's handsome Italian grin is hidden behind a mask as he jokes with a man whose hair he's been cutting for more than a half century.

The conversation is an essential part of the experience。

In fact, shops like Enzo's have never been just about the haircut。 They've been part of a community's social fabric, a place where old friends run into each other, discuss matters large and small。

"It's a place where you reconnect," says Mandagaran. "Most of the guys from Reno High School in my class I run into here. It's the most popular place."

But this will be Gil's last visit to the shop。 At 90 Enzo figures it's time to hang up his clippers。 The barber shop will close for the last time Tuesday。

Gil will have to find someplace else。 Corporate shop, salon or, if he can find it one of the rapidly disappearing traditional barber shops left。 In any case it will be different。

"No, it won't be the same. but then again what is the same? Time goes on."

Enzo is also philosophical about what's ahead. He says he'll fill his days with time with the family, work in the yard, maybe some travel, but when asked what he'll miss he pauses and then with a sigh answerr "Oh, the people. Yeah mostly the people."

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020


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