The Old Town Shaving Company, a popular wet shaving brick and mortar shop and home of The Big Shave West announced on Friday April 13th 2018 it is closing its doors for retirement. The company will be liquidating its inventory until gone. This came as a shock to me as I was fortunate enough to visit the store last April during the Big Shave West 3. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
A Brick & Mortar Shop
For many traditional wet shavers, opportunities to actually meet those who share similar interests are usually far and few between. There are only a handful of brick and mortar shops that sell our beloved shaving products and many of us rarely (if ever) get the chance to visit these shops and experience what it’s like to see and smell products before purchasing. With that said, the majority of wet shavers make their purchases online and have numerous conversations with people that share the same interests without meeting them in person.
As a long time traditional wet shaver of almost ten years, I can honestly say that I have met hundreds of people through the internet and rarely had the opportunity to meet many of those people in person until my trip to California last year. This trip really put everything into perspective for me and made me realize how close the wet shaving community really is.
Let’s rewind to February of 2017. I was having conversations with several of my wet shaving friends regarding the Big Shave West and how much fun they had while attending the event in the past. California is a long journey from south Florida so I unfortunately had to watch from afar for the previous meetups. I mentioned it to my wife about going and to my surprise she was all about it. She was very supportive and told me to go and and have a good time. I went ahead and made my traveling arrangements that night.
Now, what many people don’t know is I had another reason for going to the BSW. After having some struggles with some of my work , I decided that the experience I had at this meetup would determine the actual outcome of my podcasting career. Many of you know I host the Wet Shaving Talk Podcast here on Sharpologist, a bi-weekly podcast dedicated to traditional wet shaving. I was hitting a bit of a block with the cast and was on the fence of continuing. I decided that the BIg Shave West was going to determine my fate.
Once I arrived at the event I was truly amazed of the size of the shop. It really did look like an Old Town Shaving Shop hence the name. Tastefully put together, with so much stuff you could literally walk around for an hour in shock before you even begin. All I kept saying to myself was that “I wish there was a place like this at home.”
During the event I was astounded by the people in attendance. Everyone was so nice and happy! It was like a wet shaver’s paradise! I could honestly say it’s the first and only time I have ever entered a room with a bunch of people that I have never met, and did not feel the least bit awkward or shy. It was like we all knew each other for years. In a way we did.
I was fortunate enough to be chosen to speak with the panel in the Q and A session that was held midway through the event. I was on stage with many wet shaving celebrities, and I felt a little intimidated. It was an amazing experience and I was truly honored to have even been considered by the the BSW organizer, Douglas Smythe to participate. I’ll never forget it.
While walking past the vendor tables I was approached by many attendees regarding the podcast. I was surprised with the amount of support the cast received and how much people enjoyed it. A little shocked and embarrassed I answered their questions as best as I could (which hopefully did not disappoint) and took notes for some new ideas for future episodes.
When the event was over I said my goodbyes and unfortunately had to jump back on a plane as I had to work the next day. I regret not staying longer. While traveling home I came to the conclusion that I will continue podcasting. I was so inspired by the people of this event and I realized how really special the wet shaving community is. Not only did I decide to continue I was pumped!
The Old Town Shaving Company may just be a store made of brick and mortar composed of four walls a floor and a roof, but to me it’s much more. It’s a place where the wet shaving community really became “family” for me and put this whole hobby in perspective. It’s much more than soaps and razors. It’s a group of people that could join up, having never met each other in person, and know they have a special thing in common that will ever keep them connected. Although the store itself will soon be gone, the memories will last forever. Thank you Old Town Shaving Company for all that you have done for me and the countless other wet shavers that have entered your doors. You will never be forgotten.
This article is dedicated to the employees of Old Town Shaving Company and all of the wet shaving community.
Special shout out to Douglas Smythe, Damon Stathatos.
About the Author:
Joe Borrelli is a long-time wet shaving enthusiast and collector. He hosts the Wet Shaving News/Talk Podcast , runs his own self-funded website http://shavestraightandsafe.com/ and operates a YouTube channel to help inform the community of new information involving the wet shaving world. Joe holds a BBA from Florida Atlantic University, and currently works for the nation’s largest wine/spirits/beer retailer. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Linda, reading, writing, outdoor activities and collecting wet shaving apparel. Find out more about Joe here.