Hair today, hemp tomorrow: Angelo’s Barber Shop moving for expanding Hempest

  • Ann Marie LaBonte, who is the owner of Angelo’s Barber Shop at The Maplewood Shops in Northampton, talks about her business and its relocation, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. She was ordered to move to accommodate the expansion of The Hempest. The shop will be in a different location at The Maplewood Shops. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ann Marie LaBonte, who is the owner of Angelo’s Barber Shop at The Maplewood Shops in Northampton, talks about her business and its relocation, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. She was ordered to move to accommodate the expansion of The Hempest. The shop will be in a different location at The Maplewood Shops. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ann Marie LaBonte, who is the owner of Angelo’s Barber Shop at The Maplewood Shops in Northampton, talks about her business and its relocation, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. She was ordered to move to accommodate the expansion of The Hempest. The shop will be in a different location at The Maplewood Shops. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Maplewood Shops. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 5/15/2019 2:49:37 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Angelo’s Barber Shop is moving from its location in The Maplewood Shops on Conz Street to make way for the expansion of The Hempest, which is looking to enter the recreational marijuana business. And not everyone is happy about the move.

Angelo’s owner, Ann Marie LaBonte, said that she’s “not too happy” about having to leave the space, and her customers “were all upset about it.”

Around 11 years ago, LaBonte took over Angelo’s from her father, the late Angelo Yacuzzo, a longtime city councilor in Easthampton. The barber shop has been at the 2 Conz Street location since the early 1990s, and LaBonte started working with her father in 1997. Her daughter, who works at the shop part-time as a hairdresser, is the only other person who works there currently.

LaBonte said that, in January, her landlord told her that she would not be renewing her lease. A residential apartment is also going to be absorbed by the expansion.

Angelo’s last day of operation at its 2 Conz Street location will be this Friday. After that, LaBonte will rent a chair and continue to cut hair at Hair Etc., also located in The Maplewood Shops, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The first day of this new era of Angelo’s will be Tuesday, June 4.

At Hair Etc., service from Angelo’s will be by appointment, although LaBonte said that she will accept walk-ins if she has availability.

Asked if she would consider renting her own shop again, LaBonte said she would not. 

“It’s just too much work,” she said.

Hempest expansion

Jonathan Napoli, the founder of The Hempest, said that the host agreement with the City of Northampton for recreational sales at his store in Northampton has been completed and that the company is now waiting for the Cannabis Control Commission to take action on its application.

He said the store hopes to open for recreational sales in the fall, “if the Gods are with us.”

Napoli said that the building will be renovated before then, and once it opens for recreational sales, the Northampton store will employ a dozen to 18 people. Currently, it employs three.

The Hempest will have its own recreational marijuana menu, he said, and it will have strains of marijuana that New England Treatment Access (NETA), whose dispensary is located down the street, doesn’t have, and vice versa.

“We sort of hope to complement each other,” Napoli said.

He also noted that The Hempest will be smaller, more boutique-like and more local than NETA.

The Hempest opened its first location in Boston in 1995 and a location in Cambridge the following year. A Northampton location opened in 2001, and it has been in its current space since 2016.

“We were open for over 20 years before the legalization happened,” Napoli said.

Napoli said that Northampton’s Hempest intends to still offer some of its current products after it opens for recreational use, depending on CCC regulations.

“We hope to definitely carry The Hempest line of clothing,” he said.

Napoli added that the mission of The Hempest from the beginning has included an educational component — to enlighten people about all the uses of hemp.

He wears hemp clothing, eats hemp seed and washes his hair with hemp shampoo.

“It’s a plant that can really sustain human life better than any other plant on Earth,” Napoli said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

 

 

 

 




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