It’s a blend of “old-school, new-school” at the recently opened Good Fellas Barber Shop at 19 North Front Street in New Paltz, according to co-owner Andrew Sairrino. “The haircuts that are coming out the door are nice clean cuts and it’s a good atmosphere,” he says. “Guys come here to talk guy things, and it’s just a place where you can escape, get a good haircut and a few laughs. And you can tell with our haircuts that we love what we do. We don’t just get you in and get you out; it’s a passion.”
The tidy shop features one wall of brick as backdrop to three work stations with large mirrors and comfortable-looking barber chairs situated next to black-painted cabinets holding the tools of the trade. A spacious waiting room is separate from the work area, off to the side. “Our cuts are very ‘new era,’ but we wanted the old-school, vintage look for the shop,” Sairrino says. “We want you to feel comfortable when you come here.”
Good Fellas Barber Shop is a collaboration between Sairrino and business partner Fabian Cruz. They’ve been friends since age 13 when they both rode the same school bus growing up in Wallkill. Now equal partners in the new business that just opened in October, they’re dedicated to seeing it become a success. Both work six days a week, with the shop open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “We put in a lot of hours,” says Cruz, “but it doesn’t feel like a lot because it’s our business.”
Sairrino and Cruz are both just 26 years old, but they’ve already logged in years of experience barbering. Sairrino learned his skills at the Atlas Barber School in Manhattan, earning his apprentice license in 2007. After getting some on-the-job experience in a few shops in Yonkers and the Hudson Valley, he went to work for his uncle, Joe Sairrino, co-owner of Sideburnz Barber Shop in Hyde Park. That was five years ago. Cruz went to work at Sideburnz a couple of years after that, apprenticing with Joe Sairrino’s business partner, Thomas Irvin. “If it wasn’t for my uncle and Thomas,” says Andrew, “we wouldn’t be as good as we are. That’s hands-down the truth. They molded us into becoming great barbers, so I definitely give them the utmost respect.”
Any advice on running a barbershop come their way from the more experienced duo?
“Keep cutting and make sure you’re busy!” says Cruz with a laugh.
“Yeah, that’s been embedded in our heads for a long time,” adds Sairrino. “We learned a lot about the business from them. I always knew that one day I wanted to do this, so my eyes were always open. This is all that I ever dreamed of, since day one at Atlas Barber School, opening up my own place.”
The two saved up their money to open the shop, buying the equipment themselves and getting the necessary renovations done inside the building to get things up and running.
Locating the shop in New Paltz was by design. “We always planned on being here,” says Cruz. “This is a good location. We get a lot of locals, foot traffic, people walking here.” The plan for the future is to “keep on moving forward,” he says. “We want to expand and have more barbers and then open another shop.”
Even in just the few months they’ve been open, says Sairrino, Good Fellas already has a lot of repeat business. “The thing we keep hearing from people is ‘New Paltz needed this!’ You know, there are a lot of salons here, but no barbershops; no place that actually caters to the men. And also using the straight razor; our work is always cleaned up with a razor. Guys like that. Not a lot of shops really do it that way, but it’s kind of like the extra step, the icing on the cake.”
The feedback has been all positive, he says. “People are so glad that they don’t have to drive to Poughkeepsie or Kingston to get a haircut. And I think some people are coming back just to hang out. They’ve told us that they went months without a haircut and now they’re coming in two weeks later.”
So what are the trends in men’s hair styles these days?
“Lately it’s a lot of comb-overs,” says Cruz. [Excuse me? Did I hear that right?] No, as it turns out, not that kind of comb-over. Apparently the term these days refers to a traditional parted style combed over to the side. “You know, like George Clooney would wear,” says Cruz. [Okay, now you’re speaking my language, guys. I get it.] “Comb-overs are a really popular haircut with every age,” explains Sairrino. “It’s just a clean-cut, respectable, old-school style. You see a lot of new trends based on old stuff; trends die down and then they come back.” Styles based on the Mohawk are also popular, longish in the middle and spiked up, fading on the side (tapered back).
And where did the name for the shop come from? “It’s not from the movie,” says Sairrino. “If you just look at us, who we are; we’re just two good guys cutting hair, two good fellas, you know? Two good guys.”
A regular haircut costs $15, a haircut and edge-up $20. Seniors and kids under age seven pay $14.
For more information, call (845) 633-8403 or check out “goodfellasbarbershopnp” on Instagram.