Step back in time on Main street
By Andrew Coussens
Photography by Emma Thompson
I was running late for an appointment at 1020 W. Main Street in the heart of downtown Boise, when the sight of a barber working his craft in the picture window of the very building I was entering stopped me in my tracks. The words “Belmont Barbershop” was emblazoned across the glass in vintage script. The place was dripping with raw nostalgic Americana and it took me back to the days of my youth, where a spinning barber pole, an old barber chair and the sound of 50’s music playing in the background were all too common on main streets across the U.S.
I continued to watch in curiosity as the owner, Ryan Salamon, worked on the visage of one his clients who was seated comfortably in the window facing the street, juxtaposed against many gems from yesteryear. Some of these historic pieces included a coin-operated Coke bottle machine, a 1954 Seeburg Selecto-matic jukebox, and a 1962 Harley Davidson Panhead custom which seasonally adorned the front window.
To me, this looked like the place a man would prefer to sit for a cut or a hot-towel straight-razor shave. Others might even hang around for spell in order to soak in the shop’s nostalgia. When I finally got in to see Salamon, I couldn’t help but enjoy the scent of beard oil competing with the aging hardwood and motor grease filling my senses. The place just smelled a good kind of old. There’s something about certain sensory indulgences that draw such a masculine picture, and Belmont had them in spades.
Salamon and his father moved to Sweet, Idaho from the west coast when he was only 12 years old. After graduating from Borah High School, Ryan attended Boise Barber College, something that seemed natural considering his grandfather owned his own barber shop – Caesar’s – in West Covina, California.
After renting a chair at a spot around the corner from his current location, Salamon decided it was time to be in business for himself, and boy, did he hit the ground running with Belmont. Steady clientele keep his schedule full. In fact, there’s often a two-week waitlist just to get seated.
Services for men include traditional men’s haircuts with a complimentary straight-razor shave along the neck. Salamon also offers beard trims and styling while augmenting his services with men’s hair products like Bonafide and Suavacito to keep his clients looking sharp. In addition, there is a stack of black t-shirts on a shelf for sale with the Belmont logo on the front. I couldn’t help but think how good it might look after sporting a fresh haircut from Belmont Barbershop.
For more information, call Belmont Barbershop at (208) 577-1186 or visit them at 1020 W. Main St. #111.