Santa Monica barber Val Valentino surprised customers last week when he decided to "suddenly" close his shop after more than 30 years in business.
Valentino's Barber Shop—once located at 1432 Santa Monica Blvd.—was empty, it's red and blue neon "Barber Shop" sign and striped barber pole removed. The window still displayed the yellow "Valentino's" lettering. A handwritten sign hung on the glass door and announced the owner's retirement.
"He had mentioned that business was off this year, but it is hard to believe that business was so bad that he would close his shop in a matter of a week and not say goodbye to his long-time customers," said Robert Cannon. "I have been a customer of Val's for 30 years."
When Cannon first met Valentino, his shop was located in the back of a retail store on Montana Avenue.
Hank's Liquor Store owner Yong Ho Jung saw Valentino moving furniture out of his shop on Tuesday.
"He said he was trying to sell for a long time and couldn't," said Jung. "Business was bad."
Bill Augustine gives piano lessons next door. He knew very little about Valentino, but would get a haircut at the barber shop about once a month.
"Val was gentleman's gentleman," said Augustine.
Patch was unable to locate Valentino for comment by article publication.