MERIDEN — It took two days to clear out the equipment and take down the Yankee memorabilia, but Prisco “Pic” DeLuca has put down his barber shears.
DeLuca, who has been at Haircraft Hair Salon, 1259 E. Main St., since 1980, started his hairstyling career in 1973, just as many men needed stylists for their longer hair.
“When I started out we were the up and coming (stylists),” DeLuca said. “We noticed that as we got older the younger kids were going to the younger stylists. We understand.”
DeLuca got his start in downtown at Trim & Shape on East Main, near Pratt Street. In 1980, he and partner Brian Carpenter took a chance and opened Haircraft on the far east side, where they built a loyal clientele they later called friends.
“When I came to Meriden from Branford in 1973, I came for a job opportunity but it became much more,” he said. “We developed a real friendship with the customer base. We got them ready for weddings, graduations, proms. We tried to give them comfort when there was a passing. It really was the friendship. That’s what I’m going to miss.”
Harry Blau of Durham is one of the longtime customers.
“I was going there since I was 14,” Blau said. “He knew how to cut my hair and he was a good conversationalist. I followed him to his own place.”
Blau, 64, is fussy about how his hair looks and would visit Haircraft once a month.
“I don’t know where I’m going to go now,” he said.
DeLuca never tried to hide his love for the Yankees. His memorabilia was a great conversation starter.
“There is a split between the Yankees and the Red Sox in Meriden,” he said. “My shop was all Yankee stuff but when the Red Sox won in 2004, I was really happy for the Red Sox fans and let them hang up posters and pictures. It’s been a good experience.”
At age 70, DeLuca is ready to travel with his wife Patty and spend time with his grandchildren.
“I would like to thank everybody who ever came to Haircraft, especially those who came in for 35 or 40 years,” DeLuca said. “They make the ride really fun.”