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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 9 May 2015
NEWS 10 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 MAY 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Razor sharp at 74 Frank Apostolopoulos has just celebrated 40 years of cutting hair in Northcote. He threw a big bash on Saturday to say thanks to his loyal customers that have kept him in business all these years HELEN VELISSARIS There are quite a few curious objects that stand out at Frank's Hairdressing. The yellowing posters of 1970s models, the sunscorched clock with scissors for hands, the wood panelling snaking up the wall and ceiling, and two classic barbers' chairs create quite an atmosphere. Not much has changed in the barber shop since its doors opened in 1975. Veteran barber Frank Apostolopoulos has kept things simple and let his haircuts do the talking. Last Saturday, as he finished his final haircut of the day on a shy young man, Frank was a little chirpier than usual. He was closing early to welcome friends, family and countless loyal customers to celebrate 40 years in his High Street, Northcote shop. Darebin mayor Steven Tsitas was on hand to give the 74-year-old a certificate of appreciation for 40 years of service in the community. The get-together was in large part thanks to former police chief inspector and long time customer, Matt Dillon. "I've helped build this place," Mr Dillon tells Neos Kosmos with a laugh. "I started getting a haircut from Frank in the 1970s as a young policeman at the time. We had to have short back and sides, and I was going there every two weeks." Prices haven't shifted much in that time. Mr Dillon says he was paying around $10 at first, now it's only $15. Migrating to Australia in 1965 from Olympia in Greece, Frank set himself up in Melbourne's inner northern suburbs, working on Nicholson Street Fitzroy and at the Victorian Shearing Shed before he moved to Northcote to go it alone. Only once has he seriously considered selling the shop, as the neighbouring Northcote Shopping Plaza precinct looked to expand. Thanks to his neighbours refusing to move, Frank was able to cement himself on the strip. Frank is joined by son-inlaw George Karnis who has taken up the second barber's chair. Trained as a mechanic, George picked up the scissors after a back injury left him out of work. He's now clocked 11 years at Frank's Hairdressing. "The shop hasn't changed in 11 years, we've kept it that way because people like it," he tells Neos Kosmos. The decor hasn't deterred the young. Three generations of men in the one family have come to Frank, passing on the legacy. Many of the young customers at the get-together last week were swapping stories of their first haircut at Frank's, saying how much they loved getting rewarded with lollies after keeping still in the chair. "Young customers give me the strength to carry on," Frank tells Neos Kosmos. Adorning the walls to the back of the shop are candid photos of him in action, newspaper clippings and family photos, marking dec- L-R: Darebin Mayor Steven Titsas, Frank Apostolopoulos, and George Karnis. ades in the one spot. Despite the years, Frank himself has kept his appearance almost unchanged. He still sports an impeccably white uniform, a full head of hair and a dapper moustache, not bad for a man in his mid-70s. Slowing down still isn't on the cards for Frank. He says he won't be retiring the scis- PHOTOS: HELEN VELISSARIS. sors anytime soon, joking that gardening isn't for him. "I'm not greedy, I'm just asking for another 60 years," he says with a smile. Here's to 60 more, Frank. Providing background music for years, Frank’s old radio. 40 years of memories. Still keeping time in the shop. Frank with former police chief investigator and long-time customer, Matt Dillon.
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