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Wilton barber celebrates 60 years on Main Street

  • Elmer Santerre of Elmer's Barber Shop in Wilton celebrated 60 years in business during a surprise party at the Wilton Town Hall on Thursday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Elmer Santerre of Elmer's Barber Shop in Wilton celebrated 60 years in business during a surprise party at the Wilton Town Hall on Thursday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Elmer Santerre of Elmer's Barber Shop in Wilton celebrated 60 years in business during a surprise party at the Wilton Town Hall on Thursday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Elmer Santerre of Elmer's Barber Shop in Wilton celebrated 60 years in business during a surprise party at the Wilton Town Hall on Thursday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Elmer Santerre of Elmer's Barber Shop in Wilton celebrated 60 years in business during a surprise party at the Wilton Town Hall on Thursday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, September 10, 2018 2:56PM

“It’s Elmer Day!” proclaimed Town Administrator Paul Branscomb Thursday as Elmer Santerre walked into Town Hall for a surprise party in his honor, marking his 60th year in business on Wilton’s Main Street.

Elmer’s Barber Shop had its opening day the day after Labor Day in 1958, and Santerre, 83, has been cutting hair there ever since.

“This was a true surprise. I had no idea,” Santerre said.

He’d seen nearly everyone in the room at some point in the past weeks, and several of them were scolded for never saying a word.

Wilton’s administrative assistant, Janice Peck, said plans were put into motion for the surprise party after she and Branscomb made a tour of Main Street shortly after their recent hires. She said she met Santerre and was surprised at how long he’d been doing business on Main Street.

“In this day and age, where so many buildings are empty, to be able to hold on that long, and provide a service that long, is amazing,” Peck said.

“Elmer has been here as long as I can remember,” said Alison Meltzer of Wilton. “He started when I was a year old. He’s a fixture on Main Street, and I can’t imagine Main Street without him.”

Santerre said he found his shop nearly by accident. He was fresh out of the Navy, and used education credits he’d earned to go to trade schools to learn electrical work and to be a barber – figuring he could fall back on one or the other, he said.

He was living in Nashua at the time, and drove through Wilton to go look at a potential storefront in Swanzey. He didn’t like the place, but spotted another storefront for sale on his way back through town.

“The place was available. I talked to the owner, and contacted him the next day. I’ve been there ever since. And now, here I am,” he said.

Despite 60 years behind the barber’s chair, he said, he has no plans to hang up his scissors any time soon.

“I feel good. I get some aches and pains, but I’m still in good health, and I’m going to keep going as long as I can. I enjoy meeting people. And making and spending money,” he said with a chuckle.

 Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.