Downtown London - News

February 2019

  • Marcello’s offers community feel from the barber’s chair

    February 28, 2019

    Marcello’s offers community feel from the barber’s chair


    By Sean Meyer


    Marcello Perzia seemingly grew up in a barber’s chair so it’s no surprise his enjoyment of cutting hair — and chatting up his customers — would lead him to open his own shop in a part of London he felt needed his talents the most.


    After having cut hair at a number of shops in both London and Toronto, Marcello opened his own place at 208 Central Ave. on Nov. 12, 2013. He jokes that the 11-12-13 date was just a lucky coincidence, but that it also helps him remember exactly when he opened the doors at Marcello’s Barber Shop.


    “My father was a barber, my uncle was a barber, my godfather was a barber, so it was a natural progression. I always hung around my father’s shop, it was across the street from my house growing up,” Marcello said. “I tried going to university, but I decided to stick with this. It just seemed fun; it didn’t seem like work. It was like hanging out with your friends all day. I always say the day it feels like work is the day I quit.”


    Marcello was working at a shop in Toronto before returning to London.


    If he had stayed at that shop, he admits he might not have ever taken the risk of opening his own shop.


    But upon returning to the Forest City, he started looking at spaces, seeing what was available for lease, when he came across, “a cool little spot,” on Central Avenue. The area — just across Richmond Street from the gates at Victoria Park — actually reminded him of the situation he was a part of in Toronto.


    “I just felt this cool, little neighbourhood, lots of independent businesses, it really reminded me of where I used to be in Toronto. When I saw this place, I knew it was for me,” he said. “It is always nice to have that little, local barbershop. That felt like something the area was missing. It’s like a central gathering spot. People come in and you talk, you hang out, you get to know people. Over the years, it’s not just like they’re your customers, they’re your friends.”


    Marcello explains all those familiar faces have become a comforting part of his day as he is constantly seeing people out on the street and stopping to talk with them.


    That personal connection is something he credits with helping grow his business. 


    Today, Marcello has four chairs going pretty steady, although he admits the original plan was just for three, including his own.


    The need to add a fourth chair speaks to how the business, he explains with pride, has probably exceeded his original expectations.


    Of course, all that success means Marcello spends a lot of time in the shop.


    Now, for the most part, that’s just fine by him as he admits to having a difficult time not being at the shop — “It’s hard for me to leave because it really isn’t like working; I just love it that much.”


    However, when he does get away, he’ll likely be found either watching soccer or on the pitch playing it.


    “I play soccer two times a week. My father was from Italy, my mother was from Peru, so soccer was a big thing growing up; I played since I was four years old,” he said. “I haven’t missed a season, winter, summer; it’s like meditation for me. You’re out there playing, nothing else matters. A lot of things just roll of my back. Soccer does help; maybe that’s why. In this business, if people like you they will come back, if they don’t, they won’t and that’s OK. We have a great group of guys here.”


    For more information, visit Marcell’s Barbershop on Facebook.

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