Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
I thought you might like a little history of Benny’s Barbershop in Oak Bluffs. My husband Mark decided that the Island needed another barbershop, so in the winter of 1991 he went to the co-op bank for a loan. Mr. Knight would not give it to him because he said it would never make it. So we took our life savings of $20,000 and found the building on Circuit avenue, rented it from Kim Cyrs (owner of Our Market) and went shopping. We shopped for vintage items, as we wanted it to resemble an old-fashioned shop. My husband worked tirelessly on building the shop — cabinets, installing the floor, ramp, etc. Meanwhile, I was writing letters to barbers throughout Massachusetts trying to find a qualified barber.
We interviewed many barbers, including women. When we met Benny we felt an instant click and we knew he was our man. So he moved his family here within the month to a home next to ours in Oak Bluffs that we were able to rent to him. Soon after, Benny decided the chairs were too tall for him so we removed them. Then he didn’t like the party shop (my dream) in the front. He felt the barbershop didn’t stand out enough. Soon after he wanted more pay or he would not stay. So we had to pay him more and it was not worth us paying rent and expenses so my husband “gave” Benny the shop. No money exchanged. Just gave it to him. I’m glad he gave a lot of free haircuts, and yes he is a nice guy. But we paid for my husband’s and sons’ haircuts. No freebies here. I just felt like I needed to tell my side. I’m not looking to put him down or any bad press. Just wanted to tell the story of how Cottage City Barbershop came to be.
Cathy Peters, Oak Bluffs