Simon Ungarian runs a very old barbershop business.
The shop opened in 1924. According to Ungarian, the original owner, Sam McCrae, was a ruddy-faced Irishman who loved whiskey and horse races.
"People used to place bets on horses in his store," Ungarian said.
McCrae sold the business, which then stood at the corner of Oakwood Avenue and Osborne Street, to Lionel Robidoux in 1967. It became Lionel’s Barber Shop until, 16 years later, Ungarian became the shop’s third owner and changed the name to, naturally enough, Simon’s Hairstyling.
In 1990 Ungarian moved Simon’s a few doors south on Osborne to its present location, at 690 Osborne St. Another move is in the works.
On April 1, Simon’s is moving to a space at the back of its present location. The new Simon’s will have an Osborne entrance and a slightly longer walk to the barber chair.
"My clients will hopefully come along to the area," Ungarian said as he cut a client’s hair.
"Absolutely," said the client.
Ungarian’s customers are all walk-ins and some are extremely loyal.
"I have been cutting hair for some clients for 40 years," said Ungarian, who began cutting hair at his brother’s Somerset Building barber shop in 1970.
"I’m very busy doing this," Ungarian said. "I enjoy my work. I enjoy the camaraderie."
Ungarian trained to be a barber at Red River College.
Last year, Ungarian welcomed hairdresser Michael Katsaronas to his workspace. Katsaronas caters to women, men and children just a few feet from Simon’s busy chair.
Ungarian, the youngest of 13 children, grew up in the beautiful Shell Valley in the Parkland area of Manitoba.
"Having worked and observed nature from when I was a little boy, it becomes a part of you," said Ungarian, who loves walking on nature trails, doing yardwork and playing golf.
The barber once dreamt of travelling the world by ship. Instead he met his wife, had a family and found work he loves. He and his wife have travelled. And I suspect his yard is magazine-worthy.
Dianne Doney is a community correspondent for Fort Rouge. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org