By DALE MADISON
When you hear the words “barber shop,” most people (my age, anyway) think of Floyd, from the old “Andy Griffith Show,” with an old rotating red, white and blue barber pole outside a sleepy little shop. You’ll still find the pole, but nothing that’s remotely “sleepy” at a “cutting edge” (pun intended) salon that has turned the Gayborhood on its ear, MoJo’s Men’s Room on Wilton Drive.
Owner Joe Sansone is the spark that has set his little corner of Wilton Manors’ main drag—at 2348 Wilton Drive—ablaze. For over ten years, Sansone, 33, owned a very successful salon in Boca Raton. “Boca is a very lucrative area, and I did very well. But it just wasn’t what I wanted,” he relates.
“One day, I happened to be in Wilton Manors,” he recalls, “which, by the way, I love this town. Belle Isle [townhomes] had been here for a couple of years, and several things had gone in and out of this location. I drove by and saw the ‘for rent’ sign in the window, made the call, and the next thing you know, I am signing on the proverbial dotted line.”
“The atmosphere here in Wilton Manors is so different from the vibe in Boca Raton,” Sansone says. “That’s not to say anything negative about Boca, but here you have a much younger demographic. It’s sort of—” he pauses for a moment, before adding with a charming, almost rakish smile, “a barber shop surrounded by eye candy.”
He also says that there is more synergy in the Gayborhood among local businesses. “They actually work to promote and support each other here, which is a far different world.”
About his own business, Sansone offers proudly that “MoJo’s is the sort of salon that a man can enter and not feel intimidated. We want everyone to come in and feel relaxed. We have great music and videos, and the staff is amazing.”
Sansone says he comes from a long line of barbers. “My grandfather and his brother moved here from Italy. They opened in Brooklyn, and were a great success. One day my great-uncle turned to my granddad and said, ‘I want to buy you out.’ That was at lunchtime, and by one o’clock the deal was done with a handshake. Then, my grandpa found this space in Manhattan which he really liked. It was in this place called 30 Rockefeller Center, the home of General Electric and NBC—where they film the ‘Today Show.’
“One day, the Chairman of General Electric, then the parent company of NBC, came in for a haircut. Grandpa impressed him so much with the care, the cut and just his general business style that, next thing you know, he had the likes of Jack Parr from the ‘Tonight Show,’ the members of the Rat Pack, and Ronald Reagan as part of his clientele.” We can assume the sense of style and showmanship runs in the family, as does the pride in his craft.
“I am a third generation barber— you notice I said ‘barber,’” said Sansone, as we wrapped things up. “I am proud to be called a barber.”
The Men’s Room is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 to 5, and closed on Sunday. Call for an appointment at (954) 566-1350, and know you will not be disappointed.
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