Hairdresser hands over after almost 50 years in Bedford business

Giorgio Garofalo and Lucinda Gill.
Giorgio Garofalo and Lucinda Gill.

A well-known hairdresser in Bedford is handing over the scissors after 48 years in the business.

Giorgio Garofalo has been cutting hair at his salon in St Mary’s Street, Bedford, for decades and built up a huge clientele, making many friends over the years.

Now the 73-year-old has decided to take a step back from the business although he will still be styling hair - his salon has been relaunched this week by Lucinda Gill as The Lounge, which will be offering hair and beauty services.

Lucinda, 25, has seen a major refurbishment of the premises and held a special opening event, taking over officially from Monday, January 6.

Italian-born Giorgio came to Bedford as an 18-year-old and worked at barbers Danham and Hartley in Midland Road for a number of years before deciding to set up his own salon.

He said: “I remember looking at the shop in St Mary’s, especially as a hotel (now the Park Inn by Radisson, but originally the County Hotel) was being built. I wanted to start my own business.

“The shop had been a tobacconists, which had been shut for about six months, with a cafe upstairs.”

The customers soon began arriving - and returning - and Giorgio has worked through different decades of fashions.

He said: “When Beatlemania was here people didn’t have their hair cut very often. But now it’s gone the other way and people keep their hair shorter.”

But fashion apart, the experienced hairdresser says every customer is individual and their hair needs to be styled to suit them.

Giorgio said: “We like to look at people and build their character. Hair is one of the most exposed parts of the body and if you look right you have more confidence.

“I have always believed it’s not what you like but what suits the individual, it’s what suits the person. We sculpture hair to the shape of the face.”

Wet shaves were once popular at the salon but the trend has gone, but Giorgio’s customers have continued to walk through the salon door over the years.

He said: “I’m extremely grateful to all the people who have supported me over the years. I appreciate their custom and their friendship.

“I shall treasure these memories wherever I go, to meet and know so many people. I have enjoyed every minute and still do.”

Giorgio, who has a daughter Jennifer, 21, married Anna who sadly died a few months ago.

Among other interests he has been a member of Macmillan, worked with the Cyrenians, who help the homeless, and worked on a scheme to open a home for elderly Italian residents.

His next project is to compile a booklet to offer help for immigrants, drawing on his own experiences.

The Bedford Lions Club member of 45 years won’t be putting his scissors down just yet - he’ll be helping out at The Lounge too.

Lucinda, who is from Bedford, will be offering hairdressing for men, women and children, plus a full range of beauty treatments to follow shortly.

A graduate from the University of Nottingham in English, she has gained experience working in family business, and has opened the salon with a staff of three.

You can contact the salon on 01234 350356.