Anyone who has lived in Susanville for any length of time has probably heard the name Fred Borghi.
Borghi was a barber for 58 years at Fred’s Barber Shop on North Lassen Street.
Borghi was born and raised in Susanville. His parents, who emigrated from Italy, owned the Borghi Store, which was on Richmond Road.
“Everyone went to the Borghi Store,” said Lino Callegari, long-time friend of Borghi’s.
Callegari said it was a popular destination for children as candy was always readily available, even for those who couldn’t afford it.
Callegari said back then with the railroad and lumberyard up and running, many people lived in Susanville and visited the store.
Callegari said in the 1950s there weren’t a lot of options for jobs, and you had the choices of lumber, retail, forest service or BLM.
“In about 1953, we got word that the mills were closing down,” said Callegari, “so a lot of people started looking for other alternatives.”
Borghi was one of those people. Originally he had worked at the mill and for the forest service.
“I started cutting hair in October of 1958,” said Borghi.
Borghi said when he was around twenty-three years old he went to get his hair cut one day and the barber suggested he go to barber school and that’s what he did.
Borghi said he apprenticed under Tony Farano for 18 months before getting his barber’s masters license.
Borghi attended school in San Francisco and returned to continue working with Farano.
Borghi said he worked as a partner with Farano for 17 years before taking over the business himself.
Borghi said over the years he has had about 11 different barbers work with him, choosing to sell the shop to Pat Tafoya who has worked with him for 21 years.
Borghi said back when he started out, barber shops were a lot different.
“You had your barber shops and you had your beauty shops,” said Borghi. “About 99 percent of men went to the barber shops.”
Borghi also shared that the most popular haircut back when he started was the flat top.
“He probably has the biggest heart in Susanville,” said Callegari, “I don’t think anyone dislikes him.”
Callegari said Borghi even made house calls in the past to cut hair for the bedridden and the sick.
Callegari compared barbers to bartenders, saying they hear many stories and a lot of the town’s gossip.
Borghi said many used to gather in his shop, some just to sit and chat.
“A popular topic was the San Francisco 49ers and Giants, as I’m a huge fan,” said Borghi.
Callegari said Borghi has probably been a barber longer than anyone in Susanville, and his loss would certainly be felt.
“I won’t miss cutting hair,” said Borghi, “but I will miss the people. The customers become your friends. I’ve cut hair for some families for generations.”