Northfield Village barbershop snipping away at 60

Jeff Saunders
Kent Weeklies
Barbers at Northfield Plaza Barbershop, which marked 60 years in Northfield Village in August, pose for this photo this past January. From left, Denny Kirksy, Phil Ross, Mike Spadro, Joe Gliozzo, Ignatius Lovano and owner Jim Jana.

NORTHFIELD VILLAGE — On a recent morning, barber Mike Spadro talks to a customer as scissors snip and a western plays on a television set in the corner.

“I used to love Brown Derby,” said the customer.

“Oh yeah,” replied Spadro. “That one on 303 in Hudson, we used to go there”

Just the kind of thing to see and hear in a traditional barbershop, complete with well-worn chairs and an antique cash register on a display stand in the center.

“We cut hair,” said Jim Jano, owner of Northfield Plaza Barber Shop. “We’re barbers. We’re not stylists or cosmetologists. I think most people understand what it means to be a traditional barber shop.”

A lot has changed in Summit Plaza in the last six decades, but a constant has been the barbershop and the last name of it’s owner, since Jana’s father George opened it in the same location it is now, just inside a hallway within  the shopping center, in August 1960.

Jana said his paternal grandfather Joesph Jana was also a barber and he believes he influenced his father to enter the profession.

“After the war, when he got out of the service, World War II, in ’45 or ’46, he went to barber school, worked at a couple of different shops in the 50s and then decided to open his own shop here,” said Jana.

George Jana died in 2013. In early 2010, to mark the shop’s upcoming 50th anniversary, the still working 86-year-old barber told the News Leader that his father tried to talk him into staying in Cleveland because he thought the village too undeveloped for a successful barbershop.

But with a new residential development behind the plaza, the new Ford plant with some 4,000 employees in Walton Hills, and neighboring businesses that included J.C. Penney, Krogers, Sparkle, and Firestone, George decided not to follow his father’s advice.

“I saw potential,” he said.

Jim Jana started in 1986. He had held trucking and warehousing jobs, but being a barber is what he wanted to do and he has spent his entire career at the family shop. He does not have any children in the profession.

“I do enjoy the people, that’s probably the biggest thing,” he said. “It’s not something you get rich at. It’s something you have to enjoy doing.”

These days, Jana employs four part-time barbers.

“I’m in my 60s and I’m the youngest one here,” he said. “I think if you add it up, it’s more than 200 years of experience combined.”

Jana said the shop used to see a lot of fathers and sons come in, but now younger people seem to prefer chain places like Best Cuts. Some customers have been coming in for the shop’s entire history.

“Not too many anymore,” said Jana.

Due to COVID-19, customers are required to wear masks and have their temperatures checked with a forehead thermometer. Staff also wear masks and take other precautions, such as using disposable items like paper towels.

“Obviously, our tools are all sanitized and we wipe down the chairs,” said Jana.

The pandemic has cut into business somewhat, said Jana, but “we’re hanging in there.”

As for those conversations the barbers have with customers, Jana said they can run a gamut of topics, though some diplomatic maneuvering is necessary at times.

“A lot of sports,” he said. “The local area. What the different communities are doing.

"Obviously, you steer is away from politics and religion. Keep it light. When you know people, after a number of years you know what to talk about.

“It’s really been a pleasure being in this area and meeting all the people over the years,” said Jana.

Northfield Plaza Barbershop is in Summit Plaza, 10333 Northfield Road. Business is walk-in only, no appointments. The shop is open Monday through Saturday at 8 a.m. It can be reached at 330-467-9933.