Posted April 06, 2020 17:17:11Bart the Bear has closed its doors after two years in business in Melbourne’s inner north, after an 18-month lease was extended for another five years.
The iconic barber and beauty shop in St Kilda’s south-east was one of the first in the city to open, but has since been replaced by a new barbershop.
The closure comes after the company’s landlord and the ABC were unable to reach a long-term agreement with the business to reopen.
“The barbershops in Melbourne are great and I think they’ve got a really good relationship with the ABC,” Bart’s co-owner John Roper told news.com.au.
“It’s a good, safe environment and they’re trying to do a really great job and it’s a real shame that they couldn’t reach a deal.”
In a statement, the ABC said it was “deeply disappointed” with the closure of Bart’s Barbershop in St Petersburg.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the industry, we are pleased to announce that we are relocating to a new location on the west coast of Australia, which will continue to support our operations and services,” the ABC added.
“We look forward to welcoming new customers and will continue our commitment to provide the best service and experience for our customers.”
Bart’s Barber Shop was one and only in Melbourne until 2012, when it was taken over by a rival barbers shop.
The ABC says it was able to find a buyer for the shop who has since leased it back.
“Barbershops are an integral part of the city, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for patrons, but we are also concerned that some of our current staff are still not properly supported by the ABC and Bart’s,” the company said in a statement.
“Bart and his team are committed to making Melbourne a safe place for barbers and have made significant changes to ensure that they have the support they need to thrive.”
It’s understood Bart has retained the services of the ABC to provide access to his barbers, but the ABC is still to be paid for its work.
The St Kildas barbers had a great relationship with Bart’s and it was very good for them, he said.
“They were really happy with us and they gave us the time of day and the space to make our work a success,” he said, adding that Bart was the only one to help him with the renovations.
“He has always been a real mentor, and that’s how we’ve always had our relationship.”
Barts Barbers has been in business for more than two decades and has also served customers across the state.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen next but I don’t want to lose my barbers,” Mr Roper said.
“I’m really sad for the customers that we have.”
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