Thereâ€™s a new barber on the block, and he considers hair his calling.
â€œThis is a labor of love,â€ said Larry Weston, 57, who opened the Independence Barber Shop in Boger City in April. â€œThis is not something you do for a long time if you donâ€™t like people.â€
Weston clearly likes people. Heâ€™s been a barber for almost two decades and owned two different Charlotte shops.
He decided to move after police told him to start carrying a gun and locking the shop door between clients.
â€œCharlotte was getting pretty dangerous â€“ thatâ€™s the prettiest way to say it,â€ Weston said.
Raised in the Maine countryside, Weston feels at home in a smaller town. When asked why he left his home state, he brings out a snapshot of 10 feet of snow. He finds southern weather less taxing.
â€œI donâ€™t change sneakers for the kind of snow you have around here,â€ he said.
Prior to becoming a barber, Weston spent long hours on the road as a truck driver. Owning his own shop seems stress-free in comparison.
He flips through three papers a day, listens to music on the radio (although never country-western, which he finds depressing) and reads books.
The best part of the job, however, is the clients.
â€œThey can get a haircut anywhere, they come here for the company,â€ he said. â€œThatâ€™s the wonderful part â€“ it becomes a friendship.â€
Some of his old clients even make the trip from Charlotte to have Weston cut their hair. He says they know heâ€™ll do it right.
â€œAs soon as they find me, they never go,â€ he said.
Despite such customer service, Weston believes barber shops will be nonexistent in the near future.
â€œTwenty years from now, weâ€™re gone,â€ he said. â€œThe women are putting us out of business with a concentrated effort.â€
Weston believes barber shops offers something hair salons never could â€“ a place for men to be men.
â€œMen and women are different â€“ itâ€™s a basic truth,â€ he said.
He says his barbershop is a more relaxing place for men to visit. There are no weird smells or women being waxed.
â€œItâ€™s a menâ€™s only club,â€ he said.
And ideally these men develop a close friendship.
â€œI listen to them. I share my life with them,â€ Weston said. â€œThey share their life with me, and we have fun.â€
Just donâ€™t be offended if he doesnâ€™t recognize your face in public.
â€œI donâ€™t know them from the front,â€ he said of clients. â€œI recognize the back of their head.â€
Want to go? The Independence Barber Shop is located at 115 Fuchia Lane in Lincolnton, off of N.C. 27 East. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Monday and Sunday. Haircuts are $11. For more information call (704) 607-1709.
by Sarah Grano