To me, there’s nothing more exciting than hearing about a mom ‘n pop business owner who has set out to champion his or her neighborhood. In the case of Samantha “Sammi” Rosso, she grew up in a family of barbers, and she herself is a licensed master barber. When she set out on her own, to build out her ideal barbershop, she chose to go somewhere that was desperately in need of her services – Lovejoy.
One of the things that Sammi loved most about Lovejoy was that it still retained much of its old world charm, with a bunch of other small businesses such as La Verdad Café & Deli, Lovejoy Pizza, and Carbone’s. Sammi told me that there were some other great institutions in the neighborhood, including Iron Island Museum, the recently restored Lovejoy Pool, and the Italian-American “Big Timer’s Club” where men and women still play bocce every Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s the type of place this is – it’s a neighborhood that used to have everything, and then went through some tough times (like most Buffalo neighborhoods), and is now on the up and up. There’s even a yoga studio opening up, she mentioned. She also told me that many of the businesses are owned and operated by women, which she feels is significant.
When I asked Sammi where she was from originally, she answered that she was a gypsy. She said that she was from Lockport, then Akron, then South Buffalo, and that her father’s barber shop is in North Buffalo/Kenmore, and her mom had been running a barber shop in Grand Island, but she has been strongly rooted in Lovejoy for seven years. Her lifeblood now emanates from the corner of East Lovejoy and North Ogden, which is why she decided to call her business a barberspot, instead of barbershop. The “T” in “spot” represents that intersection in her life, as well as the intersection of streets.
“I took a leap of faith when I moved here,” she said. “The building was vacant for a while, and it was a nail shop before that, and barber shop before that. William LaBombard and I did most of the fixing up – the building owner did the floor. I officially opened on May 8 of 2018. Now I have barber Dave Casillas occupying a second chair at the spot – he excels in ethnic cutting and design. I consider myself a classic barber. I’m still looking to fill a couple more chairs, which is when we will offer additional specialties in cutting. We’re a traditional-yet-trendy barber shop, from classic cuts to fades. I can also do women’s eyebrows, and we offer hot towel shaves. We only accept walk-ins, with no reservations.”
Sammi told me that in 2014, barber shops were on their way out, big time. But now they are making a comeback. Not only that but there are women owners – “Women are doing something that used to be only a man’s world,” she said. “I’m so happy to be contributing to this neighborhood. This is a community where people plant flowers in containers on the corners, and hang Christmas lights and wreaths on the light poles during the holiday season. It’s so cute and quaint here. That’s why I chose to open in Lovejoy – it’s the gypsy in me that led me here. I know the potential. It’s going to be an even greater place in years to come.”
Sammi Red’s Barberspot | 1225 East Lovejoy | Buffalo, New York | (716) 605-5890 | Facebook