Boxer. Barber. Fifty-year fixture on Main Street Newmarket.
Everybody just calls him Joe. Joseph D’Agrosa was born in Potenza, Italy in 1936, the youngest of seven siblings. At the age of eight he started working in a barber shop sweeping floors and shaving customers with a straight razor.
“There were more shaves back in those days than haircuts,” Joe muses, “you couldn’t get razor blades.” He came to Canada in 1957 and in 1962 moved to Newmarket which was just a small town back then. “I opened my original shop with three chairs. We cut hair for a dollar back in those days. I used to box every weekend to help pay the bills. That’s why Monday was always my day off.”
Joe also played saxophone regularly in the Newmarket Band.
“I used to play professionally for a 160-piece orchestra in Italy, but here was just for fun—in the Santa Claus parade and such.”
As for how he became “the number one barber in Newmarket,” Joe simply says: “You look after the people, they look after you.”
And Main Street is looking after Joe’s legacy in his retirement. Long time friend and fellow stylist Dominic Prochillo —who opened on Main Street not long after Joe— has moved his salon, Continental Hair, south into Joe’s old location.
Many of Joe’s long-time customers still ask him to come to their homes to cut their hair. Now retired, Joe politely refuses them saying, “I want to be free. I want to work in the garden. I want to have some time to myself.”
No one can deny that at age 81, after 50 years cutting hair on Main Street, Joe has earned it.