As businesses come & go, barber shop clips towards seven decades

Roy's Barber Shop says its one of few barber shops that still uses straight edges in town.
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Businesses come and go. But while the local economy is ever-changing, a small barber shop in Eau Claire is clipping towards nearly seven decades.

As part of National Small Business Week, WEAU visited Roy's Barber Shop on Water Street where loyalty has kept this small business around for the long haul.

Generations have been coming in for hair cuts at Roy's.

"I've been coming here since 1973 when I moved to Eau Claire," said Dave Farlow. "They're handy, they cut your hair. That's what I was looking for."

Other patrons like Jerry Johnson say he comes not only for a haircut, but for the people who work there.

"Over the years it's been a good place to know, get to know people, they get on your case and you get stimulated and then you go home," said Johnson.

Johnson said he remembers going to Wright's Barber Shop as a child. It belonged to Roy Wright Sr.'s grandfather. Then in 1947, Roy Sr. opened Roy's Barber Shop just down the street. He later passed it onto his son Roy Jr.

"But then he sold it to Denny Blazer and he's been in here for 50 years cutting hair. He sold it to me six years ago," said current owner Cory Cooper.

The shop has been under the same shop name "Roy's Barber Shop" and in the same location for 67 years. They've seen a lot of changes come across Water Street.

Cooper said the secret to its success has to do with the people.

"Everyone's very one-on-one. You know the person's family, you know the kids, what heir kids activities are. A father brings his boy in, they grow up, they bring their boy. They like the atmosphere," said Cooper.

While a lot has changed over the decades, a lot has also stayed the same at Roy's. The barber chairs are the original chairs that were in the shop during the 50s. The cash register is from 1913. Some barbering techniques have also remained the same, like the straight edge.

"It's a nice way to finish the hair cut. It just cleans everything up, really sharpens everything out nice and the customers like them," said Cooper. He said the straight-edge and warm shaving cream is one of the reasons customers keep coming back. Barbers also keep it old-school by using clippers over combs, instead of guards.

Even the younger generation says they see something special in an olde-time barber shop.

UW-Eau Claire sophomore Lucas Bjorlie said he used to go to a barber shop in Minneapolis. Now that he's in school in Eau Claire, he knew he had to find a new place to get his hair cut.

"I was walking by this place on Water St. Friday night and I looked inside and I was like wow those are some official barber chairs," said Bjorlie. "They do some special things here that they won't do at other places."

Cooper said history proves Roy's is a constant on Water St.

"It's kind of a staple. We're a landmark on the street, something to be said for things not changing staying the same," said Cooper.

He said he hopes to keep Roy's tradition alive forever.

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