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Hair Cutting Dream Realized at Stratford Center

The owner of New Era Barber Lounge on Main Street, which opened in September, says he's been cutting hair since middle school.

Ismael Diaz got his start in the hair cutting business at an early age.

As a middle schooler, Diaz said he would give friends haircuts in his front yard. The operation would eventually move to the basement, where a more suitable barbershop chair was set up.

Now the 2002 Bunnell High School graduate owns a new barbershop in downtown Stratford called New Era Barber Lounge, nestled between and .

"I've always wanted to open up a barbershop in Stratford," said Diaz, 27, who opened New Era in September and is the shop's only employee.

Diaz said he's a talkative barber, but not one that will go off topic. The Stratford resident said it's important that a person feels comfortable when he or she gets a haircut.

"I build that friendship with them," he said. "They're more than a client."

New Era is modeled as a lounge, rather than a salon, so customers can feel more at ease, Diaz said. A big-screen TV sits in front of a comfy couch. And sports memorabilia, hats and jerseys are tacked on the wall throughout New Era.  

As far as business goes, Diaz said it's "gone good" and it's "starting to pick up."

"I get the lunch people," he said. "I stay late to catch the people coming off the train."

After 3 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are when Diaz is the busiest, he said. Diaz works six days a week but said he doesn't mind the hours because he enjoys talking to people and being his own boss.

Future plans for the 2406 Main St. barber lounge include hiring help and selling hair products.

Diaz said he is confident his business will succeed because his prices are comparable to competitors and for the simple fact that "people always need haircuts."

New Era Barber Lounge is open Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Diaz can be reached at 203.736.7261 and at ismael@newerabarberlounge.com.

Anne K. Mulligan December 07, 2011 at 01:22 PM
Sounds like a great business model for guys that aren't happy hanging around a ladies' salon. The late hours should bring in a lot of commuters, too.
Ismael Diaz December 07, 2011 at 02:14 PM
That is the purpose, want to have the guys feeling comfortable and coming to barbershop instead of a salon
Andrew December 07, 2011 at 02:21 PM
I walked in to New Era in October not sure what to expect, Ismael was very welcoming and nice to talk to. More importantly my haircut was great I felt like he interpreted what I asked for perfectly. I will definitely become a regular!
lynn david December 07, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Great story... Good luck!!!
Ernesto December 07, 2011 at 04:11 PM
I think this barbershop is great for the Stfd community. I would always commute all the way to Milford/Orange for an overpriced and mediocre haircut. Mr. Diaz does an excellent job and my girlfriend and I are happy to have him as my new barber ;-)
Ismael Diaz December 07, 2011 at 04:36 PM
add me on facebook newerabarberlounge ismael diaz
Rich Tomas July 15, 2012 at 03:01 AM
I stopped in there this past Wednesday for a quick trim ,and Izzy greeted me with a warm welcome and in short order had my trim done in no time! The atmosphere was great and he did a great job! Thanks Izzy!!
Charlie Brown November 15, 2012 at 07:49 AM
Sounds like a nice shop. Makes me wish I had some hair.

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