NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. Tucked away in a tiny shopping plaza is an unlikely sports shrine.
Rob Verissmo and his late father, Bob, opened the Handsome One More Time barbershop in 2001 at 13971 N. Cleveland Ave., where an entire wall is covered with New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins memorabilia.
“It just kind of got built up over time,” Rob Verissmo said.
One of the latest items is a Patriots helmet that he’d been saving up for. The football gear is front-and-center this week as the Patriots get ready to play in the Super Bowl.
Fans of the Atlanta Falcons, New England’s opponent on Sunday, are still welcome, Verissmo said.
“Oh absolutely,” he said. “[I’d] be happy to take their money and give them a nice Super Bowl mohawk.”
There’s no mistaking who Verissmo will be rooting for.
“Hopefully we can pull it off,” he said, wearing Tom Brady’s No. 12 jersey on his back. “I’d really like to see Brady do it, I mean this one’s for him. Especially everything he went through this past year, which we don’t have to go into because we’re on to the Super Bowl.”
Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season because of his role in the “Deflate-gate” scandal. But he’s not the only legend with a piece of Verissmo’s heart.
Legends aplenty adorn the shop, including the champions of the first World Series in 1903, when the Red Sox beat the Pirates.
“My buddy gave it, that pic, to me,” Verissmo said. “His wife made him clean out his man cave.”
Another wall is dedicated to relics collected from his father, a U.S. Navy veteran who did two tours in Vietnam, where he was a barber on a destroyer.
“I helped him open the shop, put the floor down, and he said, ‘You ever think about cutting hair?'” Verissmo said.
Although his father succumbed to a brain tumor seven years ago, Verissmo continues to keep his father’s legacy alive.