By Nilou Mouchhala
Continentale Hair Salon, with a well-appointed maroon exterior and simple but bold letters across the top, has been at 214 Massachusetts Ave. for over 38 years. When I entered this hair salon I was greeted warmly by Joey DiSpena, the cheerful Italian-American owner who started this business back when he was an impetuous 19-year old.
I asked him what that space was like when he first saw it in the late 1970s. "I looked at this place, it was for rent," he replied. "Sunday night, it was dusk. There had been a fire inside. The front was all boarded up with wood and a padlock. I looked at it with a flashlight, not knowing what I was seeing. I just said I'll take it. I was young, and never thought I could fail."