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Saturday, Dec 2, 2023

O’Brien’s Hair Salon Trims its Last Locks

<span class="photocreditinline">MICHAEL BORENSTEIN/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS</span><br />O’Brien’s shuttered storefront at 57 Main St. in downtown Middlebury.
O’Brien’s shuttered storefront at 57 Main St. in downtown Middlebury.

MIDDLEBURY — A salon in Middlebury that was once a favorite destination for students is calling it quits, presenting those looking to get their hair trimmed with fewer options than ever. O’Brien’s Middlebury salon, part of a chain that includes locations in Burlington, Essex Junction and Rutland, notified customers on Friday, Nov. 2 that it was closing its doors for good. Former customers were sent text messages thanking them for their business and saying that the O’Brien’s in Middlebury was now closed. The same message was posted to the salon’s Facebook page.

Melissa James, a spokesperson for O’Brien’s, said that the Middlebury salon had in recent months seen less business than the chain’s other locations. Two hairdressers who had worked at the Main Street salon were recently relocated to the O’Brien’s location at University Mall in Burlington and a third is planning on working at a different salon, James said.

Along with the Parlour and Joe’s Barber Shop, O’Brien’s was one of Middlebury students’ favorite places in town to get haircuts. Students enjoyed the salon for its proximity to campus, low prices and generous discounts given to those who showed a Middlebury College ID upon paying for their cut, wax or shave.

“It was the only practicably walkable barbershop,” said Spencer Feinstein ’20.5. “Without a car, I’m not really sure where people can go to get their hair cut. I guess now you either have to find someone with a car or wait until you go home.”

There are many options for those seeking haircuts in Middlebury but students felt that the haircuts at O’Brien’s were some of the best in town. Former customers were sad to hear they would have to find places to get cropped. 

“Their closing will definitely cause students to seek other salons or barbers in town,” said John Henry Hanson ’20.5. “The closure might cause more students to get their hair cut by fellow students, but I’m thinking I will try Solos Salon for my next haircut,” he said, referring to the salon on Court Street.

The salon’s stay in Middlebury was short; it opened as O’Brien’s in June of 2017 after several years as Bimini Bill’s, according to its Facebook page. Located on Main Street in the same building as the Taste of India restaurant, it was an easier walk from campus than other hair cutting options in town.

Options for students looking for a new salon or barber in Middlebury include the Parlour, Joe’s, Bud’s Barber Shop and Alexandria Beauty Lounge.