Carl D'Ambrisi operated a barbershop in Saranac Lake starting in 1915 in the Grand Union Hotel. In 1948, it was operated by Carl and Michael D'Ambrisi in the Leis building on the Leis Block at 5 Bloomingdale Avenue.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 28, 1974
D'Ambrisis trim hair for 60 years
By Phil Gallos
SARANAC LAKE — When the corner of Bloomingdale Avenue and Depot Street was the site of the Grand Union Hotel on that lot now occupied by the "Save" gas station the D'Ambrisi family began barbering in Saranac Lake.
That was in 1915.
In 1926, the D'Ambrisis (father and four sons) moved their operation out of the Grand Union Hotel and opened a new and larger shop in the just completed Casier building.
The new shop had six barber chairs, three large sinks, 18 waiting chairs, and 24 hanging globe lamps.
Three years later, the post office, which had been where The Store is now, began a move to its present location, the new structure being completed in 1930.
The post office move drew people away from Bloomingdale Avenue. There now were not enough people coming into the D'Ambrisi shop to justify the six chairs, and the business began to lose money.
Just after the post office move, though, Adolph Effenbach opened the building where Sears is today. The D'Ambirsis moved their business to this location in 1931. Also in that building was a drug store, an Army-Navy store, and a lunch room (where the Terminal News Stand recently took up residence).
The Depression was hitting harder and harder, however, and with the rent at $150 per month, the D'Ambrisis were forced to go back to Bloomingdale Avenue — not to their previous location but to the present one in the Leis block. It was a much smaller shop so the D'Ambrisis had to sell two of their chairs and two sections of a counter to a barber in Montreal, but the rent was only $30 per month.
Today, Mike D'Ambrisi alone is paying $125 per month or 6 1/2 times the rent he paid when the $30 per month rent was split among four barbers.
Furthermore, haircuts seem to have gone out of style. "Most professional people in Saranac Lake are doing well except barbers," says Mike. He adds that many people wear their hair long now and so many more have their friends or relatives cut their hair that there are times when only one person will come into the shop during an entire business day. This is especially true in the winter on stormy or very cold days. "On the days when the temperature doesn't get above ten below, it's not even worth opening the store," Mike contends.
Mike claims that he always had the lowest prices in town because he was interested in doing a volume business.
"The trouble now," says Mike, "is that there isn't any volume any more. There are five barbers in Saranac Lake, and two of them could take care of all the business — one, if he had appointments."
Does Mike foresee a change in the style and length of hair? "You can't tell," he answers. "When I started in this business, people had long hair. Not as long as now, but they had long hair. Only time will tell if it'll change. It might take 10, 20 years. It might never happen."
Because there are fewer customers coming into Mike's shop and because many of those who do come in have longer hair than in years past, Mike has had to adjust his prices to the length of the locks.
"If you buy a pound of meat, you pay a dollar. If you buy two pounds, you pay two dollars. It's the same way with hair. The longer it is, the more you have to pay to get it cut."
All the changes in the fortunes of barbering in Saranac Lake don't seem to have discouraged Mike, though.
Asked if he had given any thought to retiring, he replied, "Maybe in 50 years."
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 8, 1954
Rescuers Are Hailed For Saving D Ambrisi
Barber Is Reported "Resting Comfortably
Carl D'Ambrisi, saved from drowning at the Main st bridge yesterday, is reported to be "resting comfortably" in the Saranac Lake General Hospital although his condition is "critical".
"Those men are heroes," Police Chief William Wallace stated today. "It was an act of bravery. Without hesitation, they risked their lives in the deep, frigid water to make the rescue."
Mr. D'Ambrisi, about 78 years old, lives at 6 Leona street. He has been resident of Saranac Lake for approximately 50 years and is a barber. He retired a year ago and has been in ill health for some time.
Police investigation showed that he walked on the bridge yesterday afternoon, climbed the railing on the lake side and dropped into the water. His actions were witnessed by an employee of the New York State Health Department from an office window in the Paul Smith Building and she immediately telephoned the police. That was at 3.25 p.m.
The police summoned the rescue truck and the Keough ambulance. A patrolman was rushed to a spot down river in case the man in the water went over the dam and Chief Wallace went to the bridge in the police car.
When the Chief reached there a man unknown to him shouted "There are three men in the water."
Mr. Reynolds, who is sports director of the Lake Placid Club, had been in a car with George Carroll, assistant manager of the Lake Placid Club, parked in front of the Currier Press where they were waiting for an order to be filled. Mr. Reynolds first noticed Mr. D'Ambrisi when the latter was standing outside the bridge rail. A second later Mr. Reynolds heard the plunge of the body into the water and ran to the bridge, jumped in and grabbed Mr. D'Ambrisi who apparently was making no effort to swim.
By that time Mr. Finn, linotype operator, came out of Currier Press, saw Mr. Reynolds and Mr. D'Ambrisi and leaped in the water to help.
When Police Chief Wallace reached the bridge the three men were in the water between the bridge and the dam. The Chief took a rope from the squad car and, with the aid of the unidentified man, threw it to the rescuers. One of them tied the rope under Mr. D'Ambrisi's arms and, with Reynolds and Finn swimming with their then unconscious burden, the Chief and the man aiding him got Mr. D'Ambrisi to the wall and he was pulled up.
By this time the rescue truck had arrived and John Brewster immediately started working on D'Ambrisi with the Fire Department's resuscitator. Blankets were thrown over Mr. D'Ambrisi and a moment later the ambulance arrived and Mr. D'Ambrisi was placed in it for the race to the hospital Rev. Peter Ward had rushed to the hospital and reported that, when they brought in Mr. D'Ambrisi, the man had regained consciousness. In the meantime, firemen and police had used ropes and ladders to help Reynolds and Finn out of the water and the rescuers rushed to the Currier Press to change clothes. They had been in the water approximately 15 minutes. Mr. D'Ambrisi a minute or so less than that.
The water where they made the rescue is about 13 feet deep. Its temperature at the time was about 40 degrees. Pieces of ice were floating in it.
"The job they did was magnificent," Chief Wallace said again.
"They certainly are to be commended."
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 21, 1955
CARL D'AMBRISI IS DEAD HERE
Burial will be in St. Bernard's Cemetery. There will be a Rosary service at 8 o'clock tomorrow night with members of the Catholic Daughters of America attending.
Mr. D'Ambrisi was born on July 30, 1872 in Italy. He had moved to Saranac Lake about 45 years ago and had been employed as a barber most of his lifetime. He retired about one year ago.
Besides his daughter, Mrs. Harrington, there is a daughter, Miss Philomena D'Ambrisi, of Saranac Lake, two sons, Michael, of Saranac Lake, and Albert, of Syracuse, also a brother, of New York City, and three grandsons.