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After 43 Years in Nyack, Stefanos Hair Cutters To Close on Nov 22

by Frank LoBuono

The scenic attributes of Nyack are obvious. The abiding beauty of the Hudson River provides an ever-present backdrop. The sometimes historic, often quaint architecture, and tree-lined streets make the village walkable and inviting. The many shops and restaurants, up-scale and trendy, make Nyack a well-known tourist destination. But there are some businesses that are uniquely our own, places that make Nyack a thriving community, a place to live, not just to visit.

Stefano_by batson Fall-nyack-nyc-13 041One such place that has fostered that sense of community is a small shop located near the corners of Main Street and Broadway. Originally known as The Country Gentleman, it was purchase by Stefano Mourounas, a Greek immigrant living in Queens, in 1971. He immediately changed the name to Stefanos Hair Cutters. His wife, Jenny, joined him three years later. Mike, their son, entered the business in the early 1990s completing the trio. The three ran their business together, successfully, until Stefano passed away in December 2002. Jenny and Mike have continued their “wrong-way” commute from Queens to Nyack, six days a week, ever since.
Stefano C

During the forty-three years that Stefanos has been in business, they have trimmed, cut, and quaffed thousands of heads – too many for Mike to guess, saying, “I can’t even begin to estimate how many haircuts! We’ve had customers from every walk of life – rich, poor, famous, and infamous.”

One of those thousands of heads has been mine. Since, the early 1980s, with the exception of a couple of years when I revived my ponytail, I have been a steady customer. And, I have loved every single visit. Getting a haircut at Stefanos is an experience. It’s like visiting with your family. From my very first time over thirty years ago, I have been treated as one of their own. Smiling and pleasant, Jenny always has time to greet you with a cup of coffee or a candy treat. During the half-hour or so it takes for him to actually cut my hair, Mike and I have been known to solve all of the world’s problems. The conversation is at least as important as the haircut. In fact, I think that if we stopped talking for a few minutes, the time to actually trim my hair would be cut in half. But, that would ruin the experience. I look forward to being there as much for the banter as for the grooming.

Fall-nyack-nyc-13 042Through my visits and our rambling conversations, I have come to know as much about the Mourounas family as they do of mine. Mike certainly has done his best to make me look presentable for virtually all of my adult occasions of importance, including weddings, funerals, and the like. But, I also feel like we’ve become true friends. I know of his sister, his nieces, nephews, and friends. We share a love of animals, our families, photography, and cigars. I suppose that like most traditional barbers, Mike rates with therapists and bartenders as the most likely to hear and share our hopes, dreams, fears and desires.

But, all of that is about to end. As of November 22, 2014, Stefanos Hair Cutters will be closing its doors for the final time. After forty -three years, Jenny has said it’s time to move on. In her seventies now, she wants to enjoy the rest of her life in blissful retirement in Florida. Business has slowed in recent years, but that is not the reason. It’s just time! Lord knows they have earned it. Everything that exists in time must end at some point. Change is inevitable. And it is time for them to change. Mike has no desire to pursue the business alone and will also head to Florida to begin a new life.

Stefanos_BAs for the future, Mike says, “New beginnings. My mother is planning to retire to the Tarpon Springs area of Florida. I will be searching for greener pastures in the Port Richey area. As for the shop, I’m not sure what plans my landlords have in mind. But, I would like to thank Helen Komar and her family for being the best landlords anyone could ever ask for.”

Nyack will be diminished by this loss, at least for a time. I know that my life will be. Stefanos has become part of the fabric of this community. For over forty- three years they have been a fixture at Broadway and Main. How could we not miss them? They are a part of us, and we of them. However, we will always have the memories created in that wonderful place and with that gentle family. Moving cannot diminish that. Nothing can. And it is comforting to know they feel the same way about us:

“Family. . . family . . . family. On behalf of my dad, mom and myself, I would like to extend thanks to the many, many people who have graced us with their generosity, friendship and love. THANK You Nyack for 43 great years. You will be sorely missed. Peace . . . “

Michael Mourounas, Stefanos Hair Cutters

Au revoir, our friends, we will meet again, someday.

Frank LoBuono has lived in Nyack for over 30 years writing and covering Rockland County in print, on TV and online. He works as a cameraman and an editor for a major TV News organization. You can read his blog at Talk-Frank.blogspot.com.

Photo Credit: Frank LoBuono

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