Next generation takes Hermitage barber shop into future - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Next generation takes Hermitage barber shop into future

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HERMITAGE, Pa. -

You know a barber shop's good, when you walk in the door and every seat's taken. Ralph's Barber Shop's been around a long time in Hermitage. It still has that old-school vibe, mixed with a little new-school success with Ralph's grandson taking the business into the future.

Ralph Branca came to the U.S. from Italy back in 1950 and got his first job at a barber shop in Sharon.

"Just shining shoes, clean the barber shop," said Branca. "I learned the trade after I stayed there a couple years, I learned the trade right there in the barber shop and I've been cutting hair ever since."

A few years later, he opened his own barber shop and today he's still at it, cutting hair right alongside his grandson Chad. Although, that wasn't the original plan for either of them.

"As a kid, he always said 'You don't want to be a barber.' Go to college and do something," said Chad. "I ended up loving it. I went to barber school for a year and then ended up coming straight here, getting my license, and now I'm here."

He's developing quite the reputation, too. From the detail he puts into every cut to the crazy designs kids keep asking for; every one, trying to one-up the other.

"High school kids they get a cool design in their hair and they're walking around high school. It's like a walking billboard," said Chad.

Quite a bit different from when Ralph first started out.

"Everything's different today. They keep changing styles. I never seen styles like this for the 65 years I've been cutting hair," said Ralph.

Now the barber shop's moving into a new era, featuring its own line of products, Branca Men, on the shelves.

"We always had different products on the shelves that we bought from other people," said Chad. "We figured, why sell other peoples' stuff when we could start our own, you know?"

But beyond the new products and the trendy hairstyles, the overwhelming vibe is still all about family. A grandfather and his grandson putting their own spin on what it means to be a barber.

"I'm happy he's taking my place. Because sooner or later, I'm out of here. He's gonna take over," said Ralph.

Until that day comes, they're just enjoying every clip, every trim side by side. The Branca Men, doing what they do best.

The Branca family is three generations strong in the business, with Chad's aunt heavily involved in the Branca Men line. You can learn more about the family and their products at brancamen.com.

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