The Neighborhood Barbershop

In today’s modern society the intrinsic value of business is often diminished by the pursuit of only growth, expansion and profits.

There are however businesses which resist this trend.

One such entity is the local barber shop.

This place is one of unusual client loyalty and surprising customer service!

A place yet defined by one on one interaction between customer demand and skillful vendor supply.

Customer Diversity

There is the single mom who walks in makes eye contact with her barber and hastily gives instructions on how to “shape up” her two young son’s hair.

She tells him, " I’ll pick them up in a couple of hours." After commanding them to sit down and be good until they are called for their haircuts she dashes out the door.

Then there is the older distinguished gentleman who comes in with a paper tucked under one arm and a coffee in the other hand.

After siting for a while he makes a comment during a moment of silence, about a particular provoking headline.

Just like that the shop comes alive with a buzz of conversation and robust dialogue about the news of the day.

The door swings open and a twenty something strolls in with earplugs connected. He barely notices anyone except his barber, who he gives a quick affirmative head nod.

After making himself comfortable in the row of seats facing the barber chairs he settles in for his wait while enjoying his recently downloaded ITunes beats.

Take Your Time

Upon entering you notice a deliberately unhurried pace and tempo that defies the typical place of business.

When it’s time for my own haircut I usually bring something to read or even my laptop, since this old school barbershop has wireless internet access!

Although I call to give my barber, Fred, the estimated time of arrival, it’s more of a courtesy than an “appointment”.

The reality is because he takes his time with his other unreasonably loyal customers and is often running over the time we expect to meet. Apparently I don’t mind as I’m still coming after six years.

When his guy for 3pm shows up and I don’t get that last brush off of hair and removal of the cape from around my shoulders until 3:25, well the same thing applies.

A Special Ambiance

Despite the above-mentioned customers and many others in between ranging from different backgrounds, social status, and ethnic makeups there is an amazing intangible at the barber shop.

I would describe it as a unique and down to earth ambiance not centered on pristine décor or expensive trappings.

Rather, a genuine atmosphere of camaraderie amongst its customers and business owners where a dynamic takes place above and beyond a mere haircut.

Inside its boundaries resides a level of interaction that can rarely be found elsewhere.

There is a frank openness of discussion around sports, celebrities and other topics including such things as politics and religion which typically are taboo in most commercial establishments.

The barber shop has soul. It has a vibe. It feels good.

Even when the “discussions” sometime get a bit loud and contentious there is always a settling down to a cognizance of respectful toward everyone.

The participants of that particular exchange wisely decide to wait and watch to see if the Dolphins get blown out by the Patriots on the season opener.

It’s kind of like talk radio at the family dinner table.

While all the above may be true.

I’ve often come inside the shop to find only the low volume of ESP Sports Center playing in the background on one of the three flat screens.

The atmosphere is charged with barely audible private conversations between barber and client as services are being rendered.

Still Strong

Again in today’s hustle bustle world I am grateful for the bi-monthly visit to my local barbershop.

I really enjoy the fact that unlike my former favorite bookstore Borders (see Borders -The Final Curtain Call ) the experience can't be outsourced or mass produced through the internet.

Despite the slow moving economy it remains a personal essential service that is reasonably priced and a strong pillar of free enterprise in our community.

May it remain so for many years to come!

Less this entire conversation be deemed as only for men I would dare say that some of you ladies out there might relate with certain aspects as it pertains to your local hair salon or nail shop.

Thanks for listening to my salute of my local barber shop :-)

StayPos!


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Comments 20 comments

Moonchild2011 profile image

Moonchild2011 5 years ago

Thank you for another awesome hub. Yes, you are right. Women also have special places like this and special connections with their hair stylist or beautician. At my place they even serve coffee, water or juice for free. That's serious customer service. And we all love some real good customer service, don't we? Who does not like to get an awesome treatment and feel right at home?

Waiting for the next awesome article - keep them coming ;)


StayPos profile image

StayPos 5 years ago from Florida, USA Author

Moonchild2011,

Thanks for your kind compliment and valuable addition to the conversation :-)

Yes, I agree that the ladies can get in on this too!

Sounds like your spot is already doing it!

Take Care and All the Best


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

Very cool hub. I was sad when a Starbucks replaced our Moonwinks cafe; even sadder to find a Fantastic Sam's replaced our traditional old barbershop. I saw the babershop pole in an antique store. It made me feel so old!


StayPos profile image

StayPos 5 years ago from Florida, USA Author

Hey Paradise7,

Thanks for stopping to read my hub :-)

Yes, there seems to be a massive sea change of our oldie but goodie favorite places of business.

I appreciate your compliment!

Take Care


lavender3957 5 years ago

Great hub. I thought it was very nice.


StayPos profile image

StayPos 5 years ago from Florida, USA Author

lavender3957,

Thanks for stopping by and glad you like the hub :-)


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Hi StayPos! I really enjoyed your hub. Admittedly, I haven't been to a barber in 28 years (yes, 28 years) after learning to cut my own hair and doing it well! I do miss the conversations though. Maybe I will go back after 30 years! Voted up, up and away!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

I lived in a small town all my life and love the feel of the old fashion barber/beauty shops. Yesterday, in my travels, I wished I had taken a picture of a small gas station we stopped at. When you walked in, it was like stepping back in time. Hunting/fishing supplies lined the back wall with its trophies, a bay window was lined with tables full of customers, an old fashion soda pop station for drinks and the ambiance goes on. It wasn't till after I had purchased my drink and seen my camera sitting on my console of the car that I told my hubby I wished I would have taken a picture. The atmosphere of the place was indescribable with the closeness and care of the people. Great hub! Thanks for sharing it. I wish there were more places like this popping up.


StayPos profile image

StayPos 5 years ago from Florida, USA Author

What’s up Dexter!

Thanks for dropping by as always!

Are you sure it’s been that many years?

You must have started cutting yours when you were 4 years old since you scarcely look over 28 :-)

Glad you enjoyed the hub!


StayPos profile image

StayPos 5 years ago from Florida, USA Author

tlpoague,

Thanks for your great addition to the conversation :-)

I hope we all take time to appreciate some of the iconic historical places and spaces around our country.

They often depict the grandeur of simpler times we often neglect in our accelerating high tech existence today!

I appreciate your compliment and taking time to share the very special spot you and your husband found :-)

All the Best


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

Staypos,

What an awesome portayal of your barber shop experiences! Have you ever read "The Wealthy Barber"? It seems that barbers know more than meets the eye ;-)

I had to vote this one up, up, UP!

Cloverleaf.


StayPos profile image

StayPos 5 years ago from Florida, USA Author

Cloverleaf,

Thanks for your support! Yes I have heard of the book, The Wealthy Barber, years ago.

Now that you mention it that might make for a great " Tip " for Fred sometime after one of his stellar haircuts :-)

Cheers!


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

I hope your barber reads this and gives you a complimentary haircut next time.

It's nice to have a place where you feel comfortable to have your hair done.

@Dexter - My oh my.... you are well over due a visit. On a serious note, I know there are some smart kits on the market now and people buy it and barb themselves.

Thanks again StayPos.


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

Many great hometown places being replaced by a fast paced bunch of impersonal stores. Great hub.


StayPos profile image

StayPos 5 years ago from Florida, USA Author

Lady_E,

Yes, I agree the feeling we get when we patronize a shop is as important as the actual service, especially in today’s often detached business settings.

I'll have to show him your comment next time I’m there with my laptop :-)

All the Best


StayPos profile image

StayPos 5 years ago from Florida, USA Author

BobbiRant,

Thanks for the compliment :-)

Glad you enjoyed!

Take Care


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Too funny Stay Pos - I just went into the barber for the first time ever (took Mick to get him a shave and trim up;). I found it very interesting, I said little, listened a lot. Soooo not like the ladies shops. Heck - I might even start going to the barber;) lol


StayPos profile image

StayPos 5 years ago from Florida, USA Author

Hey RealHousewife,

Nice to have you visit and glad you enjoyed :-)

No doubt you were entertained by all the shop talk!

That reminds me, they actually have a hair salon for the ladies next door too!

The guys love it when the wifey stops stops in with me!

Hope you and Mick enjoyed his shave and trim up :-)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Hello StayPos. This was such a great trip into your neighborhood barber shop. It brought back many pleasant memories from when I worked in one. The owner was old-school and taught us how to use straight razors and give hot towel facials, trim mustaches and give excellent customer service. The things you've described that make your experience a good one are difficult to find in today's hectic world.

Voted all the way up.

Peg


StayPos profile image

StayPos 3 years ago from Florida, USA Author

Peg,

Thanks so much for sharing how this hub took you back down memory lane :-)

It’s the small things in life that are often the most significant. Most of us can remember a favorite service business that always put a smile on our face because customer service was king!

Unfortunately as you mention, these days, it has mostly become the exception rather than the rule.

I’d be interested in what others remember as great local neighborhood businesses.

Thanks for getting the conversation started.

All the Best

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