Roger St. Pierre recently sold Spring Street’s St. Pierre’s barbershop after owning the business for 38 years to Duane Griffiths. Griffiths will rename St. Pierre’s to Empirecutz in the coming weeks after the Board of Registration of Barbers inspects the location following the change in ownership.
Griffiths and St. Pierre began negotiations in February, soon after Griffiths received his barber’s license in December from the Rob Roy Academy in Worcester, Mass. In preparation for retirement, St. Pierre started reducing his hours a year and a half ago, from 50 to 40 hours a week, and began advertising his intention to sell.
St. Pierre began working in his family’s barbershop 47 years ago and bought it after spending two years in the army. There has been a St. Pierre working at St. Pierre’s for over 100 years.
Although he is eager to retire, St. Pierre said he “would not sell to just anybody.” He saw that Griffiths was friendly and interested in St. Pierre’s history and traditions, and so he agreed to sell to him.
Griffiths intends to keep things at Empirecutz close to the way they currently are.Other than changing the sign, he plans to install a more comfortable wing area with a TV and leather chairs.
He wants to continue the College’s post-Homecoming win tradition of “The Walk,” as well as the March Madness pool.
Griffiths, who lives in North Adams, Mass., originally came to the Berkshires from the Bronx, N.Y., after his mother sent him to find a “different kind of life.” His wife is a nurse, and he has three children aged 10, 11 and 12.
He started cutting hair out of his basement, and his wife encouraged him to get his license to start a business. “I wanted to be a barber ever since I was old enough to pay for my own haircut,” said Griffiths.
Griffiths likes the barbershop environment and the ability to provide for his family as a small business owner. He believes that a large part of being a barber is about being friendly.
“It’s about guessing what customers want and knowing what makes them happy,” he said.
Although St. Pierre no longer owns the business, he will continue to cut hair on Mondays 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., indefinitely. Griffiths will work Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Empirecutz will be closed on Sundays.
Griffiths will also be hiring new barbers in the coming weeks.
When not working on Mondays, St. Pierre intends to spend his retirement traveling with his wife and working on home improvement projects with his daughter. He plans on staying in the area, as he has lived here his whole life.
He is content knowing that Griffiths is taking over the business. “Duane is a young man and has plenty of time to build his own reputation,” said St. Pierre. “He’s doing the right thing.”