Sally’s Barber Shop will be for the guys

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Sally Laffey Sally Laffey

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – For several years, Sally Laffey had been waiting for a Main Street storefront to open up. When she spotted a vacancy, she knew the time was right to start her own business.

“It’s not too often stores open up along here, and I knew I wanted to be in Court House, on Route 9 among all the other businesspeople,” said Laffey. “I know them all from being born and raised here.”

On Tuesday, May 8, Laffey will open Sally’s Barber Shop, following decades behind the chair at Sam Repici’s Barber Shop on Mechanic Street.

“I was there for 27 years – it was my first job after I graduated high school,” Laffey said. “But when this store became available, I thought, I need to take the opportunity.”

Unlike unisex salons, Sally’s Barber Shop is strictly for the guys. It’s been designed to look like a basketball court, complete with a scoreboard, a countdown clock and three styling stations that will resemble gym lockers. A flat-screen TV will be tuned to all sports, all the time. And local high school athletes will be featured in photos and news clips on the wall each week.

Laffey’s husband, Mike, parks director of the Cape May County Park & Zoo, worked to complete the shop’s interior last weekend.

“This is my vacation,” he joked. “We’ve been doing it all in our spare time – my son, my father-in-law and me.”

Mike Laffey is confident that his wife will succeed in her new location. “She has a great following, that’s really important. Sally’s very well-known in town.”

Laffey began her career in the mid-1980s, when the state required barbers to serve an apprenticeship before becoming licensed.

That’s all changed.

These days, students must attend cosmetology school and learn not only hair styling, but manicures, pedicures, facials – the works. Laffey said the change is unfortunate in one sense, in that “there are really no more barbers. Everyone’s license nowadays says hair stylist and cosmetologist. I am a licensed barber; that’s where my expertise is, cutting men’s hair.”

But she’s pleased that her son, also named Mike, will soon be working toward a cosmetology license. Afterward, he’ll join her in the new family business as a second-generation barber and stylist. At that point, Laffey hopes to introduce men’s facials and even bring back the art of the shave, complete with hot towels.

The new shop joins a number of salons in town, but Laffey believes there’s plenty of work to go around. She said business will grow as long as hair continues to grow.

“In Court House there are eight salons and I’ll be the third barber shop,” she said. “But everybody needs a haircut.”

Sally’s Barber Shop is at 14 South Main Street in Cape May Court House. For more information, call 536-8438.

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