Long Branch, NJ – Unheard Voices had the opportunity to visit Montalvo’s Barbershop located at 129 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ. Montalvo, a native of Puerto Rico, is a long time barbershop owner, community leader and humanitarian who has proudly served the city of Long Branch for 40 years. As Montalvo puts it, “being a barber was in my blood”
He was very proud to say that his father was also a barber. Montalvo never had the opportunity to learn from his father because his father would passed away when Montalvo was only 6 years old. He remembers his mother asking him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He immediately told his mother that he wanted to be a barber. It was being around his father and the culture of barbering that he knew at the tender age of 13 that he would pursue this profession.
While in Puerto Rico, he went to barber school where he pick up the profession pretty quickly.
He said that he felt blessed, it was something that just came natural to him. He was able to cut hair for 3 years in Puerto before Montalvo’s family moved to the US when he was 16 years old. Once in the US, Fort Monmouth called him up at the age of 16 to cut hair on the base. He was living his dream at a very young age.
After working initially for Fort Monmouth, Montalvo opened up his first barbershop in 1964 with 2 chairs, located on 94 South Broadway. By 1969 he was able to move to his current location and has been there serving the community ever since.
I can remember as a little boy going to Mr. Montalvo to get my hair cut. When I walked in his shop to interview him, I can feel the family atmosphere and the warmth that still resonates with me from when I was a young kid. Montalvo’s barbershop is filled with pictures showing his personal to professional life over the years.
Today, Mr. Montalvo has Woody Arce & Benjamin working with him keeping the culture alive. The two say they enjoy coming to work everyday at Montalvo’s.
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Mr. Montalvo proudly holds up the picture of the late Sam Mills of Long Branch who went on to play professional football for the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panther. He talked about Sam’s generosity and his monetary contributions to various organizations and how he was a great human being. As Mr. Montalvo puts it “Sam put Long Branch on the map“!
Mr. Montalvo credits his love and dedication to the craft that has allowed him to have longevity in the barbershop business. Watch his full interview below:
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