Written by Eve Lee
Category: Down to BusinessCreated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 22:25
Leroy Farmer got a late start in the barbering business, but in the great scope of things, his 15 years at the Loop Barber Shop has been a drop in the shaving cup. At the longest continuously operating barbershop in the city, Farmer is proud to be the fifth owner in the shop’s 85-year history.
“The shop has been around since 1926,” Farmer explains. “The Douglass Loop is the oldest area in the Highlands, from when it was just an outpost and too far to drive into town.” Technically, the building that houses the shop is relatively new and dates from 1958, but the original establishment – also called Loop Barber Shop – started as a two-chair shop around the corner on Douglass, behind what was once Douglass Pharmacy. “A lot of people from pre-1958 come in and say, ‘I got my first haircut there.’”
Leroy Farmer cuts Connor Edwards’ hair at the Loop Barber Shop. Farmer bought the business six years ago after working there for nine years. Begun in 1926, the shop was originally located on Douglass Boulevard but eventually moved to its present location on Dundee Road. (Photo: brianbohannon.com) left picture–>
Indeed, Farmer presides over tonsorial events for customers of all ages, and the Loop Barber Shop maintains a following that has lasted decades. “A few years ago we had a family with five generations coming in here,” Farmer says. Currently, the shop’s most enduring customer is a gentleman in his early 90s who not only still has his hair (“although not much,” Farmer notes) but has also had it cut there since 1931. “This is the only place he’s gone,” Farmer says. “His grandsons come in here, and that’s three generations right there.”
Leroy Farmer gives Bill Braunstein a trim. (Photo: brianbohannon.com)<–right
Whether your dad took you to the Loop Barber Shop for your first haircut or you’re a newcomer, it’s all the same to Farmer and his three-person crew, who form a kind of nonmusical barbershop quartet. The shop, which still sports the revolving barber pole from the original corner location, specializes in men’s haircuts, but will also do basic ladies’ cuts. “We’re not hairdressers, we’re barbers,” Farmer says. “We’re a straight-laced barbershop. I guess you’d call it old school.” That means you can still get an old-school straight-razor shave from Terri, one of the barbers on staff – and if you bring your own brush and mug, all the better. (For sanitary reasons, blades are sterilized between customers but brushes cannot be, so Terri takes a light touch with a manual shave cream application.)
Even with its old-school ways, The Loop Barber Shop isn’t stuck in the past. The shop is celebrating its entire history as a participant in the neighborhood Belknap Festival, which takes place Friday and Saturday, October 7 and 8, and is part of the annual Week in the Highlands. Farmer will have free drawings for items such as shampoos, conditioners and, yes, shaving mug sets.
The Loop Barber Shop, located at 2210 Dundee Road, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. You can reach the shop at (502) 452-6068.
And as long as hair grows, the barber pole will turn. Some things, after all, are timeless.