Shear success: Shelton barber continues family tradition

SHELTON — Claudio LoBello can say cutting hair is in his blood.

The Shelton native and third generation barber has continued in the family tradition of cutting hair. He opened his own shop, Bello’s Barber Studio, on Howe Avenue in October 2020, in the newly built Cedar Village at Carrolls.

For LoBello, this was his chance to follow in the footsteps of his great uncle Filippo and cousin Simone - both of whom are barbers back in Italy. The wall of his shop features three photos - one of his uncle, another of his cousin and one of himself cutting his grandfather’s hair.

“I’m very proud of where I’ve come from,” said LoBello. “They did it. My cousin is still cutting hair, but it is not as serious as over here.”

LoBello said he first got the barbering itch when his brother began cutting his hair when he was in high school. That along with the family history prompted LoBello to go to school to master the craft.

He was among the top in his graduating class from Tony & Guy’s Hairdressing Academy, then moved to shops in Orange and Newtown before deciding to strike out on his own in early 2020 — at the onset of the pandemic.

LoBello said the COVID crisis did nothing to quell his desire to open his own shop, and by October of 2020 he was cutting hair alongside longtime friend and fellow barber John Fernandes.

“It was not as bad as expected to open during COVID,” LoBello recalled. “It was a quick leap really, and we have really enjoyed success here.”

Bello’s Barber Shop was the first business to move into space in Cedar Village at Carrolls, which sits on what was once home to Carrolls Home Improvement Center - a hotbed of business downtown for some 60 years before closing in 2014.

The site had been vacant for years until Don Stanziale Jr., Shelton resident and Midland Development and Contracting owner, created the present structures, which are now home to dozens of apartments with business space along Howe Avenue.

LoBello specializes mainly in scissor cuts, but has significant experience with fades, styles, and shaves. While the pandemic, and the restrictions that came with it, limited some services, LoBello said he is now able to also offer towel and beard services.

“We are booked out weeks,” LoBello said, adding that he will be bringing in more barbers in the coming weeks to handle the demand. “It’s exciting to have this business downtown. I’m proud of what we’ve done so far, and I know my family is proud of me, too.”

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