Iconic Hanover Park barber shop closing after 60 years

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Saturday, December 23, 2023
Iconic north suburban barber shop closing after 60 years
Tony Ruffalo is closing his Hanover Park, IL barber shop after 60 years.

HANOVER PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- An iconic barber shop in the northern suburbs is closing its doors.

For 60 years, Tony Ruffalo has called the Hanover Barber Shop his second home.

"I enjoy every minute I've worked here," Ruffalo said.

However, after decades of haircuts stretching through generations of families, he has decided it is time to put down the clippers.

"I've never known any other jobs," Ruffalo said. "It's the only job when I came here. It's the only one I've known. It's been good."

The Hanover Barber Shop opened in 1963.

"It's time to move on to start my new chapter, my retirement," Ruffalo said.

It is the longest-running business in Hanover Park.

"I get a customer for the first haircut, then they bring their kids for the first haircut, and then they start bringing their kids for the first haircut," Ruffalo said. "So, I guess I've been here too long."

Ruffalo began working at the barber shop in 1974 after his parents immigrated from Italy when he was just 18. He has been there ever since, and he became a staple of the community.

The shop's original cash register sits in the corner as a nod to the past.

"You've got to be dedicated to the individual that's taking care of you and your family," loyal client Walter Wissert said. "It's a family thing."

Wissert has gotten haircuts from Ruffalo for decades, and he started going to the shop before Ruffalo even started working there. He said the barber shop's closing is the end of an incredible era for Hanover Park.

"Oh, it's been terrific," Wissert said. "Everybody can come here. It's been very, very friendly."

"I used to bring my dad here," said Zunaira Kazmi. "He lived across the street. And then, once I got married, I started bringing my son here."

Kazmi said the Hanover Park Barber Shop just makes her feel good.

"It still feels like home. It's warm. He's super nice towards the kids. The way he treats my son, it's like he his own," Kazmi said.

Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig, a longtime customer himself, stopped by to celebrate Ruffalo's accomplishment in the village.

It's kind gestures like that which highlight why Ruffalo has been cutting hair for so long, in the same spot. It's the people, he says, who have kept him going.

"It's been good. That's all I can say," Ruffalo said.

As Ruffalo gets ready for the next chapter, hopefully filled with time back in Italy with family, the impact he had in this community, his second family, will not be forgotten.

"I'm going to take one day at a time, see what happens," Ruffalo said.