A cut above the rest — and right on campus

Maria Brachelli

At the end of Dougherty Hall, Room 115 holds a resource hidden from many students. Guys, hurry in before the holidays come and stop for a quick cut and a few beauty tips. Ladies (yes, ladies), head in that direction, too, because all the services that are cheap and convenient for the guys exist for you as well.Now open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Uiversity Barber Shop, located on the first floor of Dougherty Hall, services all students, faculty, university employees and even those outside of the university community. Alumni even frequent the barber shop.When first entering, one notices right away that it has maintained a little sense of the traditional idea of a barber shop. Inside, the small shop brings a feeling of closeness and intimacy to its customers. The background is filled with the familiar sounds of the buzz of electric clippers, scissors cutting and contemporary music. In attempts to make the students as comfortable as possible in the shop, barbers Anthony DiReno and Vince Donia play music promotions for the Verve Group out of New York City, a group associated with Universal and RCA music records. The music includes classical, rock, jazz, R&B and country selections. It smells of a combination of men’s aftershave and other hair products, and the shelves are stacked with magazines on issues of health, fashion, and sports. A television in the corner of the window plays a news broadcast, and students are reminded of their Wildcat pride with numerous framed football photographs arranged on the windowsills. Old-fashioned orange cushioned barber chairs add to the quaintness of the combination of traditional and modern charm the barber holds as one of its most endearing qualities.Unbeknownst to many, the barber shop at Villanova opened in 1954. It is listed online under Villanova’s Quality Improvement page as one of the University’s “hidden treasures.” Students are able to walk in, at their convenience, without an appointment, pick up a magazine, and have their hair cut for a mere $11. The barber shop also offers a variety of hair products from $5-$16 in price, “all high end products,” as DiReno describes, “Matrix, Crew, Sebastian, CMS and Rusk.” “We do women’s and men’s hair, and we are updated every season on the newest haircuts,” explains DiReno. DiReno, who trained at Gordon Philips in Philadelphia Pa., has been the barber at Villanova since 1986. Four years ago, he was joined by Donia, who received his training at TriCity Barber School, also in Philadelphia Pa. Both are experienced with men and women’s cuts and all types of hair.”I worked in a salon before – it’s a change of pace. The students are great – I don’t think I ever ran into anyone who gave me a problem – except this one,” Donia said jokingly to the customer in his seat.Donia and DiReno see approximately 15 to 20 customers each day. “Lunch time is the busiest – kids come in to eat and get their hair cut after they eat. Mondays and Fridays are big days for us, usually,” DiReno says. It is estimated that the barber shop only sees the business of five percent of the female population on campus. “We are trying to increase our female business.”How does word travel about the barber shop? “Nine of 10 people will see haircuts and say, ‘Where did you get it done?'” DiReno explains. “The kids on this campus are really concerned with aesthetics, and that’s a good thing. We are very thankful for the students’ business, and appreciate the support of the University.” Why go to the University barber shop? “It’s just easier than going off campus, it’s convenient and quick,” said Matt Croce, senior Finance major, who admits, “I don’t think I found out about it until the end of freshman year.” So go on. Stop by after you grab lunch some day, grab a magazine off the shelf and enjoy the old fashioned experience of a barber shop in a more modern way.