LANHAM – A cornerstone in the community, the Seabrook Barber Shop has stayed in business in the same location for more than 50 years with a sense of pride that keeps customers coming back. The shop, located at 9424 Lanham-Severn Road, is a fixture in the community where male customers are groomed amidst small talk, […]
LANHAM – A cornerstone in the community, the Seabrook Barber Shop has stayed in business in the same location for more than 50 years with a sense of pride that keeps customers coming back.
The shop, located at 9424 Lanham-Severn Road, is a fixture in the community where male customers are groomed amidst small talk, friendly smiles, old school values and a reputation for excellent service.
That high reputation begins with 77-year-old Carlo Cicala and extends to five of his family members who work alongside the proprietor. Cicala has been in the barbering business at the same location for 54 years.
“I had the opportunity to own a business and hire family. We get along great,” Cicala said. “I don’t think of myself as a boss. I am like one of them. If they don’t do good, I don’t do good.”
Cicala, who said it’s in his nature to take care of people as best as he can, began his journey of learning business principles in Italy. At the age of 16, he was required to follow in his father’s and brother’s footsteps as a blacksmith. However, the Lanham resident never wanted to work in that profession. After coming to the United States in 1955, Cicala’s parents permitted him to learn another trade which would be more useful in America. It was then that Cicala learned to speak English and took steps to pursue his true passion.
“I came over here, I took a barber test, I passed and I have been a barber ever since. I have enjoyed working with people,” Cicala said.
Cicala worked in several establishments in Virginia, the District of Columbia and Cheverly before arriving at the Lanham location in October of 1961. When the previous owner of Seabrook Barber Shop became ill, Cicala bought the business.
After making the purchase, Cicala suggested that various male family members learn barbering skills, since communication was more challenging for non-native English speakers in the original fields in which they specialized, such as carpentry and mechanics. Cicala also said barbering is a cleaner profession. After learning the positive aspects of the new career path, Cicala’s family members stuck with barbering too.
Despite the many years that have passed since he started, Cicala still takes great pride in engaging in conversation with customers like Donald Hall.
“He’s been cutting my hair 55 years,” Hall said. “I’ve got a barbershop close to me, but I come here.”
Hall is now in his late 70s and has fond memories of Cicala selling fresh produce in addition to cutting hair. He says the barbershop’s atmosphere and good service keeps him coming back. The Prince George’s County resident, who has resided in the area since 1952, described Cicala as an outstanding citizen who has always contributed to the community as long as he has known him.
Not only has Cicala contributed donations to schools and churches, he has volunteered to cut hair at nursing homes and hospitals such as Doctors Community Hospital and Prince George’s Hospital Center.
“When I go out of the (barber) shop, I don’t charge anybody,” Cicala said. “When somebody needs me, they call me. I do it.”
Even when customers relocate to Waldorf, Crofton, Annapolis, or Ocean City, or to states like Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania and even greater distances, Cicala said a high percentage of them return for his grooming services. One customer travels over 200 miles to get his monthly haircut, Cicala said.
“If you care for the people, the people follow you no matter what,” Cicala said. “That’s why I stay in business.”
Up to four generations of customers can typically be found coming and going from the Seabrook Barber Shop. Many children like Kyle Sargent walk through the doors to get their first haircut. Lisa Morris said her 5-year-old will not go anywhere else. As John Murli cut Kyle’s hair, the young boy sat still then held down his head, appearing to know what to expect.
When Morris and her family lived around the corner, the tradition of coming to the Seabrook Barber Shop began with Morris’s brother and stepfather. Morris further explained that her older son also came to the Seabrook Barber Shop for haircuts and would not go any other place until around the age of 11.
“They’re friendly, good with the kids and everybody coming in,” Morris said.
After remaining in the barbering profession for so many years, Cicala said everyone asks him when he wants to retire, to which he says there is no reason, currently, to think about it. Interacting with customers who sit in his barber chair, near the front door of the establishment, Cicala appears to be both comfortable and content providing grooming services with a smile.
“You come here from another country for a better life and I have it,” Cicala said. “I’ve been really been blessed health-wise and business-wise. Everything is a big blessing.”