Ezio Metallo is on the road to recovery after a massive blaze destroyed his Queen Street East barbershop just two months ago.
The barber – who began his career in Sault Ste. Marie back in 1980 – has reopened his business at 143 Great Northern Road, inside the Northgate plaza, after spending 15 years downtown.
Metallo's first day back in business was March 22.
“It was the first day open,” he told SooToday at his new location Thursday. “It was a big response in the first few days – and now, hopefully it gets better.”
“It’s good to be back in business – working, you know? Start paying for my expenses now.”
A GoFundMe campaign was launched by his family just hours after the Jan. 31 blaze, raising a little over $16,000 from 225 people in roughly two months – far exceeding the original $10,000 goal.
“It was a really, really big help to get me going,” said Metallo. “I want to thank you, everybody, that contributed to that.”
“It was very supportive of the community, and I really appreciate it.”
There’s three barbershop chairs in Metallo’s new Great Northern Road location - two of which, he’s looking to rent out.
Although he’s happy to have seen so many returning customers come to his new barbershop over the past couple weeks, Metallo says that some of his regular clientele are older and can’t get to Great Northern Road.
“Some of my customers...they live in the area downtown, they can’t get up here,” said an emotional Metallo, fighting a lump in his throat. “I feel sad for them. I feel bad.”
“I can’t help it – they can try to come up here, or find a good place they can start going to get their hair cut.”
But Metallo remains optimistic about his new location.
“It looks promising, there’s a big population over here - lots of residential and business, so that helps too,” he said.
His two-month hiatus from the barber’s chair, Metallo says, was depressing in spots.
But the work it took to re-establish his livelihood helped take his mind off of the loss of his Queen Street East barbershop.
Now, Metallo is up and running with Ezio’s Barber Shop.
“It feels good, it feels good,” he said. “Trying to leave everything behind and have a fresh start.”
“It feels good to work – I always liked to work, I enjoy my work.”