SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — The more things change, the more they stay the same inside Jake’s Barber Shop.
Collegiate pennants representing universities near and far, including Marywood University, Penn State and the University of Wyoming, still adorn the walls, as do pictures drawn by children, photos of young customers receiving their first haircuts and older ones with deer they’ve shot and fish they’ve caught. A new face, however, now greets everyone who walks in.
Casey Carrick, a 1999 Abington Heights graduate, recently took over the scissors and shears at Jake’s after the namesake of the Abingtons fixture, Jake Palmieri, retired at the end of May.
“He’s a legend,” Carrick said. “These are big shoes to fill.”
For Carrick, becoming the barber at Jake’s, 401 Northern Blvd. , is something of a prophecy fulfilled and a circle closed. His first job was at Armetta’s Restaurant & Pizzeria, located across Center Avenue from where he now cuts hair. Carrick, 38, recalls a conversation he had with his dad, Richard, shortly after high school graduation. His father suggested pursuing a career as a barber, pointing to Jake as an example, Carrick said.
“He said, ‘Look at him, he’s his own boss, he has no employees to worry about, he makes a nice living. You become a barber and maybe someday, you could take over for him,’” Carrick said. “And here I am now.”
Carrick, however, took a circuitous route to the profession. He worked in the restaurant business and eventually managed eateries for about a decade before he considered taking it up. While getting haircuts at Mackrell’s Barber Shop in downtown Scranton, Mark Mackrell, the owner there, suggested Carrick attend barber school and come work for him. While the restaurant manager gigs paid well, Carrick said he wasn’t passionate about those jobs any more and he decided to go for it. After attending Carbondale Barber School and learning as an apprentice under Mackrell, he earned his barber’s license in 2017.
Carrick quickly fell in love with the craft. He sometimes wears cufflinks that depict the tools of his trade, scissors and a comb. Besides making people look good, he enjoys the rapport he develops with regular customers over time. In ways, a barber takes on the role of a therapist, or as Carrick says, a “hairapist.”
“I feel like I know more about some men than their own wives or their own best friends,” Carrick said.
After working at Mackrell’s for a few years, he decided it was time to strike out on his own and he started a conversation with Jake about taking over. After working things out, Carrick officially took over the business on June 4. Some of Jake’s longtime clients were aware of the transition while others were surprised to see him and not the man who had operated there for close to 50 years.
Palmieri could not be reached for comment on his retirement.
At the end of that first day, Carrick’s brother, Rick, stopped in for a cut. The two talked about the status the place has in the local community.
“Pretty much everyone we went to school with came here,” Rick said.
The name of the shop will remain the same as well, Casey Carrick said.
“It’s a landmark,” Carrick said.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5363; @ClaytonOver on Twitter
For more information on Jake’s, check out the shop on Facebook (Jakes Barbershop) or call 570-587-5795.
Stop in for a cut:
Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday and Monday: Closed