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Haircut, shave and the latest buzz

March 1, 2012
by Scott Haddow
In: News with 0 Comments

Carmen Gigliotti goes about his business as a barber with a smile on his face. There is no doubt he loves what he does. A client comes into Carmen’s Barbering and Hairstyling shop in downtown Sudbury, sits down in a chair and, instantly, Gigliotti sparks up a conversation as he snips away. The barber and client converse back and forth, their words only broken up by laughter and head nods, much like old friends catching up on the good old days.Gigliotti has been a barber for 44 years. Having friendly chats with every customer has become second nature to him. The talk flows and fills the shop. In more than four decades, Gigliotti has cut a lot of hair, but also cut through a lot of what he calls “gossip,” and earned a reputation for being a savvy player of the stock market, especially when it comes to junior mining companies. It all started innocently enough in 1969 when Gigliotti was working in another shop. A lot of his customers were in the mining industry. Miners, prospectors and company executives all came for a trim, and it changed him.“My mind was fresh … and I was fascinated by the stories these customers had,” Gigliotti said. “These people had adventures and they were risk-takers. They would talk about mining and stocks. I didn’t know anything, but when you hear it so much, you can’t help but be interested. I started reading the newspapers that covered junior mining stocks, and I turned into a player. It was mostly on customer recommendations. I gained a lot of knowledge. That’s how it started.”

In 1971, Gigliotti opened his own barbershop. Many of his clients migrated with him to the new location – a gesture of loyalty and also a sign of Gigliotti’s barbering expertise.

There was a core group of clients who, along with Gigliotti, kept a close eye on the stock market and exploration industry news. As the years went by, the group grew and grew, adding more individuals hungry for the next hot tip.

“There was a brokerage beside my shop and every few hours a bunch of us would sneak out and check the ticker tape,” Gigliotti said. “There were always 15 guys watching. Of course, that added more people in the circle and it got bigger.”

These days, Carmen’s shop is a hub of activity every morning as members of the group come in and get caught up with the latest stock news and which companies they should be putting their money on. Cell phones ring constantly with people carrying news from other parts of the province. The group has continued to expand as some of the members moved to southern Ontario and made new contacts.

People from all over the province keep Gigliotti and his pals up-to-date on the movers and shakers in the industry.

“In a way, it is gossip,” Gigliotti said with a laugh. “We get together at the shop and we talk stocks or sports. It’s a nice environment to work in and makes the day go by fast. I love doing both, cutting hair and playing the stocks. One goes with the other. I’ve met a lot of friendly people.”

Highs and lows

Gigliotti has experienced the highs and lows of playing the stock market. It has been a rewarding and humbling experience. He fondly remembers buying Noront Resources stock for 16 cents. The stock soared to $7.40. Gigliotti sold his shares at $5.50 and $6.00, but he still got a tidy sum for his efforts.

“It meant a lot,” Gigliotti said. “Most stocks go up by just a little. We end up taking a loss sometimes. When you play penny stocks, you don’t have to put up much to be profitable. It has been worthwhile. It could have been better, too. We’re good buyers, but sometimes we aren’t good sellers because we dream of the big score. You win a lot on one and lose a lot on the rest. It’s a fascinating game.”

Gigliotti’s advice on playing junior mining stocks is to read, read, read.

“Read all the mining publications,” he said. “They all help a little bit.”

Now 63, Gigliotti has zero interest in putting down the scissors and retiring.

“I have no plans for retirement,” he said. “I love every minute of what I do. Why retire? It keeps me alive. I look forward to going to work and meeting more new people. It has been a great education.”

 

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