The Man with the Razor


Gary Cordova

Good Looks, located at 1685 Hertle Ave., have been in business since 2006.

Good Looks Hair and Fashions serves as an up-scale barbershop located at 1685 Hertel Ave. in North Buffalo. This shop is known to be a facility that caters to all cultures and proves to be a staple of the community, keeping its doors open successfully since 2006.

36-year-old Thomas Barwell is the co-owner of Good Looks and has employed three people who all come from the North Buffalo area. The hair-cutting business didn’t run in Tommy’s family, but he did start to cut hair at a young age. “Two older brothers growing up plus my father cutting all of them at home, you know, all my friends in the neighborhood, free haircuts went to $5.00 haircuts then became $10.00 haircuts and so on,” he explained as the sound of buzzers echoed in the barbershop.

Barwell graduated from Kenton Erie One BOCES located on Grand Island Boulevard in Tonawanda, N.Y., in 1999. He was the only male in the shop. “One guy in a classroom of 25 girls didn’t discourage me at all, I enjoyed the experience and got my license to cut hair in New York,” Barwell said as he reminisced about his high school days.

He gained his first experience working as an assistant to the owner of Attilio’s Salon and Spa, a very prominent hair salon of the Ken-Ton community located at 2929 Delaware Ave. Doreen, who owned the salon, served as his mentor. “I learned the basics here,” Barwell explained about his experience at Attilio’s. “I remember sweeping hair, washing hair, doing eyebrows and most importantly watching, listening, learning a lot.”

Supercuts located at 2170 Delaware Ave in North Buffalo was Barwell’s first job in the hair cutting field and a very different experience from cutting all men’s hair which he does now at his barbershop. Barwell proved he is an ambitious individual, working his way to manager after a few months working there.

In 2003 a friend of Barwell’s opened up a barbershop called The Cut located on Englewood Avenue. Barwell decided to leave Supercuts and work there for the next three years prior to opening the doors to Good Looks. This was his first time getting his feet wet in a barbershop. “First experience in the barbershop was nice, chilling with friends talking and having fun. I saw this as the career I wanted to be in,” he said.

Nick Cipolla, cousin of Barwell, who is the co-owner of Good Looks Hair and Fashions stated, “We have moved locations for the third time at the beginning of this year, my cousin Tommy has showed equal commitment to each location and this shop wouldn’t run without him.”

Adam “Diggs” Saunders, who has been working at the shop since they first opened, eagerly commented about Good Looks with pride. “Everyone in this shop is a representation of this community. My mother owned a salon on Hertel for over 35 years, it only makes sense that I work here for Tommy and Nick”.

Every employee that works in the shop including the owners is an Italian-American, a deeply rooted ethnicity in the North Buffalo area, showing the cultural significance of the location. The shop is conveniently located on a major bus route, route 5 which shows that the shop can be visited from any part of the city and from most suburbs located on the outskirts of it.

All three gentleman employed at Good Looks have been there for over 10 years which shows that the owners create a great environment for not just customers but the people that work there.