Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The plight of the traditional barber

Barber poleThis Associated Press article in the Grand Forks Herald talks a bit about the decline in the number of barbers in the US in recent years, and how they're losing ground to hair stylists, even among male customers.

One question I've been asked numerous times is if I know of a barber that will give straight razor shaves. It's a dying art. For the record, I've never been to a barber, and don't know of any off-hand that shave with a straight razor. However, the article mentions one, in case you're somewhere near Bismarck, North Dakota.
Twenty-three-year-old Travis Zenker is the first new barber in Bismarck in more than 20 years, Schock said. [...] He is one of the few barbers, including old-timers, who still uses a straight razor for shaving and trimming.


Mark Baker said...

I'll have to keep that in mind for my next cross country trip. :)

Pat J said...

I have a friend who runs a barber shop. His son tried to go to barber college to continue the family business. There is no barber college anymore; all he could find were hairstyling academies. So the son wound up with a hairstylist designation instead.

Anonymous said...

That is actually my brother mentioned in the original article above. He went to college at Moler Barber College in Fargo, ND. I guess I assumed all states had at least one...but it is a dying art.

Anonymous said...

I am a barber in Ohio. We have about 12 barber colleges in the state. There are about 11,000 barbers in Ohio, compared to about 200,000 cosmetologists. We have our hands full competing with salons and franchise shops. Many people don't know the difference between a barber and a cosmo. They think we are the same thing. We have different styles of service. I practice the old fashion style of barbering. Personal service, attention to detail, and giving the customer what they ask for are some of the things I believe in. And yes, I do use a straight razor.