The recently opened Union Shave on Partition St. is an old-fashioned barber shop, said David Kolbinski, co-owner along with brother Jake and A.J. Lewis.
All the partners have cut hair locally and are bringing their experience to the business. David Kolbinski, who is the brother with whom we spoke for this article, worked at the very successful Pugsley’s Barber Shop in Kingston for six years prior to opening the shop.
A.J. Lewis studied art before opting to cut hair. That was good preparation. “This is an art form,” he said. While there’s a need to please the customer, “this can be a platform for developing your own style.”
Kolbinski explains his interest in the industry this way: “I grew up with my father taking me to the barber shop. I loved the smells and the atmosphere.”
One advantage the shop has is its proximity to Kingston. Many of their former customers now come to Saugerties for their haircuts, Kolbinski said. “We started out having a great clientele.”
While the partners looked at many areas of the county, they settled on Saugerties when the space became available. Now that they’re here, they really like the village and are glad this was the place that opened up. The fact that the Kolbinski brothers’ sister, Francine Kolbinski, has a beauty parlor near the shop, Lux Hair Studio, is a nice feature, but it was not the deciding factor in taking the place.
The Kolbinski brothers are from Kingston; A.J. Lewis is from Rondout. The partners are not members of a union, but the name of the shop, Union Shave, is a nod to the past, Kolbinski said. “The barbers had a union until someone stole the pension fund, and the union folded.”
The trend in men’s hair styles is moving toward the traditional shorter, neater styles, Kolbinski said. “The tapered haircut is coming back.” This is the standard male haircut, a bit longer on top, then tapering to shorter hair on the sides and back.
Will the owners of the shop be moving to Saugerties any time soon?
It’s possible, he said. “We were lucky to land here; it’s a great town. I could see living here some time in the future,” said Kolbinski.
While the Kolbinski brothers are focused on building their haircutting business, they are also musicians. Their band, The Grape and the Grain, includes both Kolbinski brothers, Daniel Grimsland, Josiah Smith and Steve Markota. They played regularly at Dave’s Coffee House when it was open. The band will be performing at Mirabella Dec. 13.
The shop is located at 106 Partition St. For more information, or to make an appointment for a haircut, call 247-3533 or visit www.unionshave.com. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday.