Fazios style a legacy of Sequim

At 13, Paula Fazio was working hard to clean a living room. Her starter beauty grow kit cost only $ 15 and she had her hairdressing license at 17.

Joe Fazio watched his father work in a barbershop when he was 10, and about six years later he was licensed too.

Now, after nearly four decades of cutting and styling their neighbors Sequim’s hair side-by-side at the Sequim beauty salon and the Fazio barber shop, the Fazios are calling it a career.

“It was a wonderful place to go, it was more than just a hair salon,” said Charles Rusciano, one of Joe’s longtime clients. “Joe and Paula were a great team, great people.

“I used to stop every now and then, even when I didn’t need a haircut… just to hang out at the store, visit Joe and have a good time. “

Paula’s client Freddie Crause reiterated the sentiment.

“She and Joe are very special people,” Crause said. “It was a wonderful store to go to. so welcoming. It was more than getting your hair done, it was a weekly outing.

Joe and Paula Fazio, front row / center, are celebrating their retirement after nearly 40 years of hairdressing and barbering in their side-by-side downtown locations. Photo courtesy of the Fazio family

The Fazios ended up keeping a tradition in their location on West Washington Street: Paula said when they replaced the heater a few years ago, they found a business card belonging to Edith Keyser. Keyser is mentioned online in Scandinavian American Issue dated June 21, 1950 under the operating name “Sequim Beauty Shop, specializing in cold waves and all other waves FULL BEAUTY SERVICE, Your Hair – My Interest, EDITH E. KEYSER. Owner Sequim. Wash. Phone 611 .

Paula first worked for Patty Baker at the same location, then bought the company in 1982 when Baker moved to California.

Paula said, “So she (Keyser) owned it before Patty, and I owned it after. As far as I know there have only been three shows here and that’s it.

Joe said, “Same company, different people.”

The couple discussed the bittersweet nature of this local business’s permanent closure as well as the change in their own lives during a conversation in their nearly empty store.

“It’s a big part of me, going everyday,” Joe said. “I will miss the interaction with people. Because I’m having fun in it. It’s funny. People think they are paying me for entertainment.

After selling off the remaining items in the store, along with other activities involved in shutting down a business, this will be the first time since the age of 13 that Paula will not be working. She said she hadn’t planned for her free time, although the couple mentioned international travel and local biking as two of the things they enjoy together.

“We have nothing on file at the moment,” said Paula. “We’re just trying to clear this place out.”

Family tradition

Joe said he frequented his dad’s barbershop in Brooklyn.

“When I was 10, I used to sit in my dad’s station and love to listen to stories,” he recalls. “You don’t realize it but you watch, as you watch your dad tell a story, you watch his technique, part of that goes into your brain.”

He achieved his first partial haircut at age 10.

One summer, Joe asked his father if he could go to hairdressing school in his spare time. At first, his father thought 15 was too young, “but he accepted,” Joe said.

So Joe took the train every day to Manhattan.

“I went full time, 40 odd hours a week,” Joe said. “Then in September I had to go back to high school. Shortly after I finished my hours.

Joe Fazio cleans up the notes accumulated on the mirror of his hairdressing salon as he and his wife Paula work on the permanent closure of the beauty salon Sequim, acquired from the previous owner in 1982. Photo Sequim Gazette by Emily Matthiessen

Joe Fazio cleans up the notes accumulated on the mirror of his hairdressing salon as he and his wife Paula work on the final closure of the beauty salon Sequim, acquired from the previous owner in 1982. Photo Sequim Gazette by Emily Matthiessen

The school issued the 16-year-old with an apprenticeship license.

Joe was working after school for his father, who had learned from his grandfather at another store in Brooklyn.

Paula attended a professional hairdressing school and graduated at age 17.

“Vocational high schools are great. It cost me $ 15 to buy my beauty grow kit, with everything needed to get started. For people who don’t want to go to college, vocational high school is the best thing in the world. I mean, it supported me the rest of my life.

“An investment of $ 15. If you stay with – you know, you’ve got to stay with it.

The Fazios met through a friend of Joe’s when Paula was 17 and Joe 19.

“And then I met her on the beach,” Joe said. “It was my birthday. Then we started dating.

They have been married for 54 years.

Call Sequim home

Joe returned to the barber after a stint in the US Navy as a dentist and then worked in California in sales.

The Fazios moved to Sequim in December 1980.

“We thought it would be a good place to raise the kids,” Joe said.

At the time, their sons were 6, 10 and 11 years old. The three sons are still in Sequim, along with six grandchildren and several great grandchildren. Three of Paula’s sisters also moved to Sequim.

The Fazios said when they started about half of their clients were retired and many lived in Sunland. They have both served families in which four generations of members have entrusted their hair to them. Paula’s client, Freddie Crause, for example, has been coming since 1987.

“She and Joe are very special people,” Crause said. “It was a wonderful store to go to. So welcoming. It was more than getting your hair done, it was a weekly outing.

Paula Fazio smiles at her 54-year-old husband Joe Fazio as he talks about post-retirement on the eve of the closure of Sequim Beauty Salon and Barbership, a business they've run together for 39 years in Sequim.  Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen

Paula Fazio smiles at her 54-year-old husband Joe Fazio as he talks about post-retirement on the eve of the closure of Sequim Beauty Salon and Barbership, a business they’ve run together for 39 years in Sequim. Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen

Joe and Paula said they heard it all in the store.

“People tell you everything,” said Paula. “I’ve heard every scenario you can think of.”

Paula and Joe set up the living room so that they each have a separate area to work with their clients. On living together and working together, “People say how can you do it? Paula said. She explained that they are giving each other space.

“There are some things that I don’t do that he does and some things that I do that he doesn’t do. If you let the other person do what they’re doing, that’s okay.

“When we’re both busy,” Joe said, “I can’t even see from behind that mirror. If I have a little break, I might be next to his station, talking and trying to join the conversation.

“And I give her the evil eye,” Paula said.

It’s time to walk away

“The second time I went back to see Joe,” Rusciano said, “I sat in the chair, and sure enough, it was a packed house, and I said to Joe, ‘Look, I’d like to. that you cut my hair very closely. the right side of my head. I want you to cut off the left side of my really jagged head. The top, I want you to prick it as uneven as possible. And of course in the back, I would like you to cut it at a severe angle. ‘ Joe of course said, “I can’t cut your hair like that.” And I said, ‘Why not? You cut it like that last time.

Joe said: “I feel like the haircut should look like your head.” He spoke about the importance of being consistent with the haircuts so the client knows what to expect.

Paula, too, was consistent in her quality, which was one of the reasons she had so many loyal customers.

“She even found me someone to style my hair like she did,” Crause said. ” It works very well. That’s the kind of person she is.

It wasn’t all business, however.

“One thing we did back then,” said Paula, “is every Friday we dressed like different characters. I was everything from Dolly Parton to, oh my god, a bunny. It was fun, we did it for years.

Paula and Joe Fazio hold hands outside the back door of their beauty salon / barber shop in the final days of their nearly 40-year collaboration to cut and style the hair of the citizens of Sequim and County Clallam.  Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen

Paula and Joe Fazio hold hands outside the back door of their beauty salon / barber shop in the final days of their nearly 40-year collaboration to cut and style the hair of the citizens of Sequim and County Clallam. Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen

Paula realized it was time to retire when she noticed she was older than half of her clients. With the labor shortage, the management of the store had become a bit difficult.

“We ran out of help; we work five, six days a week, you know, then you have a day where you collapse, and you clean the house, you go shopping, ”Paula said.

Joe initially intended to continue until the end of the year, but decided to quit when Paula did.

“I didn’t really warn people,” he said. “You know, I was sort of procrastinating. I probably could have stayed here until the end of the year in my own section. But, we’re like one company, so I thought that would be too confusing.

“I really don’t want to be alone in this building. Without the girls here it’s no fun.

The feeling, apparently, is mutual.

“I will miss those two people,” Rusciano said. “I enjoyed their company and they made a great asset to Sequim.”



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