Everyone knows the oldest company in Westport: Gault.
Founded in 1863, it’s been a Saugatuck mainstay for 153 years.
At 89 years old, Riverside Barber Shop could be Gault’s grandchild.
But after nearly 9 decades here, it’s probably Westport’s 2nd oldest company.
“Riverside” may be a misnomer. For its first 82 years it was indeed located on Riverside Avenue — a few yards away from Gault.
In all those years, there were just 4 owners. John Santella opened it in 1927. His son Lou — the legendary “Mayor of Saugatuck” — took over from John. In 1999 Lou retired, and sold his shop to Pat Vigilio.
In 2009 Pat moved Riverside Barber to Post Road West — above Greg & Tony’s salon — when as part of the Saugatuck Center project, his building and the adjacent DeRosa’s restaurant were torn down.* (Pat donated his barber pole to the Westport Historical Society.)
Pat recently retired. The new owner is Tammy Stefanidis. She worked for Pat for 7 years, then spent the next few at home, raising her family.
Now she’s back.
Tammy knows the barber shop’s history. She’s proud that longtime — very longtime — customers keep coming back. She doesn’t plan any big changes.
But she does have one interesting offer.
If you’d like to donate your hair to Locks of Love — the non-profit providing hairpieces to children and teenagers suffering medical hair loss — stop in to Riverside Barber Shop.
Tammy will cut it for free.
*Bonus fact: Saugatuck Center was developed by Gault.