For Immediate Release - December 13, 2004

State Inspectors & Lawrence Officials Team-Up To Inspect & Shutdown 4 of 5 Barber Shops

A citywide sweep designed to crack down on illegal practices and enforce state sanitary requirements resulted in the temporary shutdown recently of four Lawrence barber shops. The Division of Professional Licensure ("DPL"), the Lawrence Police Department, Inspectional Services, Lawrence Fire Department, and the Board of Public Health targeted five shops due to a recent shooting at one and an unusual amount of suspicious activity observed at the shops. Officials shutdown four of the five shops inspected after finding offenses ranging from unsanitary conditions to the possible presence of illegal substances.

"Our investigators worked quickly and in concert with local officials to take action. Our goal in enforcing licensing laws is to ensure that consumers receive services in safe and sanitary work settings," said Anne L. Collins, Director of the Division of Professional Licensure. "Unlicensed businesses and those that ignore the law can expect to face penalties," added Collins.

Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said, "This is another successful collaborative effort aimed at ensuring that laws are obeyed and the public's safety is preserved. It's also a message to the community that the state and city will continue to mobilize quickly wherever suspicious activity is detected."

The following Lawrence barbershops were inspected:

Andy's Barber Shop: Numerous health code violations and lack of licenses and inspection certificates lead to the closing of this shop at 381 Lowell Street. A warrant arrest was also made at the shop after officers found and confiscated a substance believed to be "Ecstasy".

Broadway Barber Shop: This shop at 241 Broadway was found in violation of building and health code regulations. Owner Juan Guzman was fined $400.00 by state inspectors. An additional $100.00 fine was issued to a barber working on the premises without a master barber present. The shop was allowed to remain open.

El Parcha Barber Shop: This shop at 249 Park Street was fined $600.00 by state inspectors and closed by the Board of Health due to numerous health code violations.

Felix Barber Shop: This shop at 5 Cross Street was cited for numerous health code violations and lack of licenses and inspection certificates. State inspectors fined owner Jose F. Martinez $700.00 and an employee was also fined $100.00 for not having his license in his possession. The shop was closed by the Board of Health.

Luisa's Beauty Shop: This shop at 344 Hampshire Street was fined $800.00 by state inspectors and subsequently closed by the attending building inspector and the Board of Health due to its lack of an occupancy certificate and health code violations.

The Board of Registration of Barbers licenses more than 5,300 barbers and shops throughout the Commonwealth. In fiscal year 2004, investigators inspected 703 barbers and shops to ensure proper licensure and compliance with professional regulations.

Consumers are urged to visit the Division of Professional Licensure's website at www.mass.gov/reg and select the "check a license" option to determine whether a professional they are considering doing business with is licensed and in good standing.

The Division of Professional Licensure is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. It is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the licensing process for 43 trades and professions regulated by 29 boards of registration, the updating and renewal of approximately 330,000 licenses and the maintenance of databases for licensing, enforcement and revenue collection. In fiscal year 2004, the Division of Professional Licensure imposed record levels of enforcement, including 829 disciplinary actions, $128,000 in fines and the return of more than $25,000 to consumers.