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Francisco Lindor films commercial at downtown barbershop

Posted: October 19, 2017

by Erica Peterson


If you thought you saw Francisco Lindor hanging out around downtown Independence last month, you weren’t seeing things. 


The popular Cleveland Indians shortstop was in town Sept. 11 to film a New Balance commercial at Carlo’s Barber Shop, 6574 Brecksville Rd.


“He’s the nicest guy, which made the whole thing that much better,” said shop co-owner Carlo Sarti of Broadview Heights.


Sarti said they were surprised when they got a call about the commercial. In fact, his father, Carlo, who runs the Garfield Heights location, initially thought the call was a scam.


But co-owner Nick Barile of North Royalton remembered a talent scout visiting the Independence shop about three years ago, looking for a barbershop with an old-school feel that might work as a filming location.


Carlo’s fits the bill. The building has been around since 1934, Sarti said. Nick Nero, the original owner who ran the shop for 55 years, still cuts hair there once a week.


The cozy shop has wood paneling, old-fashioned cash registers, a 1950s Coca Cola machine and 1960s wallpaper. Those details made Carlo’s attractive for the commercial, Sarti said.


“The film crews from California and New York said there are not too many shops around like this one,” he said. “They said new shops are being made there to try to look like this.”


Barile estimates 50 people descended on the shop Sept. 11 for the commercial, both inside and outside.


“They were filming a 10-second spot with Francisco, and they were here for 10 hours,” Sarti said.


He, Barile, and operations manager Courtney Kulak were thrilled to be allowed to walk around and watch the whole process, which was painstakingly detailed.


“At one point we were invited to sit in the directors’ chairs and watch the monitors while they were filming,” he said. “We watched them go through three or four different hats on him. They didn’t like the color or how the logo looked. The attention to detail is ridiculous.”


Many of the items in the shop were used in the commercial, Sarti said, but crews also added lots of things to the walls and brought in grass for the floor.


Lindor’s Cleveland barber starred in the commercial. 


“The three of us were hoping to be extras, but we didn’t make the cut,” Sarti joked.


Lindor was there for about three hours, he said, and was “very personable.” There was a motor home set up for him in the parking lot, but he really only used it for lunch. 


“When he wasn’t filming, he was talking with people and was really approachable,” Sarti said. “He was really cool about us taking photos with him, and thanked us for letting them use the place.”


Sarti said he joked with Lindor about the previous night’s game, when he broke his bat. He used a heavier bat than normal after that and hit a home run.


“I told him, ‘You have to use that bat from now on,’ and he laughed and said, ‘I know, I know.’” 


That evening, Lindor tripled in his first at bat, scoring three runners. 


“I’m not sure which bat he used, but it worked,” Sarti said.


Lindor signed a bat and ball for Carlo’s Barber Shop, which are displayed at the shop. And he gave the same style New Balance shirt he was wearing for the commercial to Sarti’s 14-year-old son, Giancarlo. 


Sarti said the shop was flooded with calls that afternoon and for days after from people who wanted to know what was happening. They had to keep things quiet beforehand to prevent the site from being mobbed.


They “got a lot of grief” from friends who only heard about Lindor’s visit afterward, he said.


“Even my mom was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” Barile said.


Sarti was told Lindor is one of three athletes being filmed for the 30-second spot, expected to air in February. 


“I know they are also going to be filming in Boston and in Liverpool, England,” he said. “We’re guessing that might be with a soccer player.” 


Sarti said the experience was fun and exciting, and they would jump at the chance to be a part of something like that again.


“The crews from New York said they loved the shoot, that it was extremely easy and a great location to film,” he said. “So, maybe we’ll become the spot for barbershop scenes. Who knows?” 


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