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Niagara Falls
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
NOTL hairdresser retiring after 25 stylish years

He might have cut your hair, or your mother's — or perhaps even your grandmother's.

Fernando Spadafora, of Fernando's Hair Salon, has been cutting and styling hair in Niagara-on-the-Lake for more than 25 years – though he can't remember exactly how long.

On Oct. 17, the 70-year-old will give his final cuts from his shop on Mississagua Street.

For Spadafora, it's a happy-sad feeling. On one hand, he's looking forward to relaxing and finally taking some vacations to his villa in Italy. On the other, he will miss his long list of clients as he heads into retirement.

“I'm going to be missing a lot of people, you know,” he says, as calls for appointments keep coming in during a short interview Tuesday.

“But I've had enough. I want to enjoy my life right now.”

Spadafora says he has barely taken a vacation since he started his shop in town 17 years ago.

“I want to enjoy my life. I want to go on vacation. I never had a vacation since I've been here,” he said.

He said he has about 475 clients.

“Matter of fact, I'll be honest with you. Some of them they still want me, but I'm gonna be going to their house. But I'm only doing part-time,” Spadafora says.

He spent eight years at Fringe salon in Virgil and another 17 years at his own Old Town location.

He's also run a business in Niagara Falls, where he had 17 women working for him.

He first started hairstyling in St. Catharines, he says, before heading to Italy to train with Arte & Technica.

“I studied with them about four or five years. I used to go to Italy. And then after that I went with Tony & Guy from London, England, did all that. I did a lot of seminars, too, with other people,” Spadafora says.

He's proud of what he made with his small salon, and says most businesses in his location only lasted six months to a year before him.

“I made this what it is,” he says. “There was a lot of experiences around. There was good days, there was bad days and all that stuff.”

“I've been here a long time.”

He remembers many days coming to work early for clients.

“A lot of my customers, they always wanted to come here early. So I had to get up between 5:30 – 6 o'clock to be here before 7 o'clock,” he says.

And that's not all — Spadafora has had a long list of things he's done since moving to Canada on Feb. 9, 1957, including playing with his own band, doing nightclubs and stints on the radio.

He's particularly proud of playing at the Skylon Tower.

But all that has come to an end, and now he just wants to sit back and enjoy life.

“It's time for me to say goodbye.”

“I'm getting old and I just want to enjoy myself right now.”

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