By my count, there are 10 barber shops in Englewood, and I’ve had my hair cut in four of them over the years. That got me thinking, I’ve never done a column on a barber shop.
They’ve all got a lot in common: There are a few swivel chairs, plenty of talc, scissors and electric clippers, and each chair is manned by a smiling person behind the chair.
What makes someone pick a barber shop? What makes someone stick with one shop or barber for years?
My theory is they want to be with someone they feel gives them a haircut they like — even though the only real difference between a good haircut and a bad one is a couple of days.
I think the reason one picks a barber shop — and will keep going back — is the bond they establish between themselves and the barber. You know, you like sports and they like sports, or you like politics and they can argue the House or governorship until the cows come home. You might even enjoy someone who doesn’t agree with you or someone who leans the opposite direction you do.
So, the barber shop I have chosen to write about is actually run by two lady barbers and is one of the oldest shops here in Englewood. It’s Irving’s and is at 560 S. McCall Road. Of all the barber shops here in town, it may be the most hidden — or at least off the beaten track. Every other barber shop I can think of except one other is on State Road 776.
Irving’s offers not much else besides haircuts by the two nice lady barbers. One of them is Vicki Kaar, who’s been cutting hair for 48 years and has cut thousands of heads of hair. She started cutting hair when she was 11 years old after watching her mom cut her dad’s hair.
She moved to Englewood 38 years ago and has worked at three of the shops in town. She owned one for 27 years. She hails from Wisconsin but found Englewood a little bit warmer.
I asked her what’s her claim to fame.
“Cutting 66 haircuts in one day,” she said.
The second barber is Brenda Kaler, who hails from Bath, Maine, and has been in town since 1990. She has been a barber since 1993. She got her start by trimming beards in Maine and found she likes it. She acquired the ability to talk to people as she was once a bartender for 40 years.
Remembering the old days of trimming beards, she determined she wanted to cut the whole head of hair, so she went to Sun State Hair Academy is Sarasota. She’s been in the shop seven years and estimates she probably has cut thousands of heads of hair also with the most at about 27 in one day.
While at the shop, I chatted with two customers. Frank Rogers has been coming there for years, since it’s convenient and near his house. The other is Bob Schmidt, who has tried five barbers in town and likes this place best.
I can’t give you a phone number as they don’t have one, and they only take walk-in customers anyway. But, I will leave you with this sign they have on the wall:
Answers requiring thought, $2.
Correct Answers $4.
Dumb Looks Are Still Free.”