When you’ve been in business for 55 years, you have survived plenty of changes.
That’s true in the barber business, said Ryan Haynes, owner of Hamilton West Barber Shop that was voted the Best of Butler County’s barber shop by Journal-News readers.
Four years ago, the shop, which opened in 1968, moved from its old location in the former Hamilton West Shopping Center just down the street into a former Chevron gas station/car wash.
The interior of the barber shop has an auto-repair garage motif and the barbers, Haynes and Steve Mallicote, 74, who started there in 1968, work out of converted tool boxes. The new space has a large garage with lots of windows that can be raised to let in fresh air.
Haynes, 48, a 1993 Hamilton High School graduate, said during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, all barber shops were closed for nine weeks, and only allowed to reopen if they had one barber, one client at a time.
Barber shops were forced to accept appointments to reduce the number of customers waiting and to keep track of all their customers in case there was an outbreak of COVID-19, Haynes said.
Those restrictions were lifted, but Haynes said the shop still takes appointments because it creates a better work flow for the customers and the barbers.
John Sellman, 82, of Hamilton, a longtime customer, said he enjoys appointments because they reduce his wait time.
Haynes said when he started at Hamilton West Barber Shop 28 years ago, a hair cut cost $7. Today, it’s $25.
“Everything has gotten expensive,” said Haynes, who earned his license at the Cincinnati School of Barbering and Hair Design.
One thing hasn’t changed, he said.
Customers must come first.
“We are here every day and not all barbers can say that,” said Haynes, the owner for 14 years. “That’s the most important thing.”
As Haynes started cutting Sellman’s hair, the conversation, as it so often does in the shop, turned to the weather and current events.
“Cutting hair is the easy part,” Haynes said. “We got a pretty simple little business here.”
Haynes doesn’t plan to move the shop again. He likes the direction Hamilton is going. It reminds him of when he was a kid. While he said the city was “dormant” for 20 years, there are “a lot of changes going on that I’m excited about.”
HOW TO GO
WHAT: Hamilton West Barber Shop
WHERE: 186 N. Brookwood Ave., Hamilton
HOURS: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
PHONE NUMBER: (513) 895-3525
Best of Butler County 2023 winners