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Ishpeming barber shop reopens after nearly one year of closure

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 7:01 PM EST
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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - Dave’s Barbershop in Ishpeming has reopened after being closed since March 13, 2020.

“We decided to close right away and it turned out it was four days before the governor told us all to close,” owner Dave Portale said. “I told my customers, ‘I won’t be back until we have a vaccine.’”

Now that Portale has received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, he’s ready to get back to work.

“I waited three weeks until the second shot,” Portale said. “They told me that would be the maximum and I think a few days later, we opened.”

Located on the corner of Pearl and Pine Street, Dave’s Barbershop has been calling Ishpeming home for over 50 years.

“I am the longest continual ownership of a business, every business, in Ishpeming and Negaunee,” Portale said.

Becoming a barber was not Portale’s first career choice. After leaving the service and returning to Ishpeming, he couldn’t find a job. So, he went to barber school.

“I figured, well I’ll do it until I find something better,” he said. “Sixty years later, haven’t found it.”

Portale said he keeps going after all these years because the people that he meets are walking encyclopedias.

“They’re full of information, all of my customers, if I have a question on what I’m going to do or how I’m going to do it.”

Portale works at the shop with his son. The new hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests are required to sign in upon entry.

Portale said he has no plans on retiring anytime soon.

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