100-year-old barbershop closes its doors
RANDOLPH — A step into Scotty’s Barber Shop is still like a step back in time.
There’s a subtle musk fragrance of old fashioned hair tonic in the air. The barbershop chair is set with a clean, paper headrest, the side stool out ready for Scotty to get to work.
Hand-lettered advertisements for Boughn’s Hardware, Orpheum Theatre, and DS Lords Drug Store, among others line the top and bottom of a large mirror spanning the wall in a nod to a bygone era. On the next wall, empty chairs stand at attention, waiting for the next customer.
But customers won’t fill those chairs again.
LaVerne “Scotty” Scott closed the 100-year-old family-owned business last month, hanging up his clippers and saying good-bye to a lifetime of snips, buzzes and shaves.
Scott took over the business in 1967 from his father, O.H. Scott and business partner Myron Bloomer. The elder Scott opened the barber shop in 1916 and was joined by Bloomer in 1920.
After a four-year stint in the Navy, the younger Scott returned to the Randolph area. Around this time, his father was looking for a replacement at the barber shop.
“Dad pushed. He wanted to retire,” Scott said. “He asked, ‘Would you go to Omaha with me?’ I said, ‘I suppose.’ Next thing you know I was cutting hair at the barber school.”
Barber school lasted six weeks.
“You stand around for the first week or so getting used to the tools, razors, shears and combs, then they turn you loose on the first customer and away you go,” Scott said, reminiscing about another student who not just knicked but gouged a cheek giving a first shave with a straight razor.
“They should’ve really called the ambulance,” he said.
When Scott took over the business in the mid-1960s, barbershops were aplenty in Randolph. Scott can still see it at all quite clearly - pointing up and down Broadway Street where each was located - including one barbershop that also sold liquor. All were kept busy, Scott said, with his father cutting hair past midnight into the wee hours of the morning on the weekends on a regular basis.
Haircuts cost $1.25, shaves and shampoos $1, and a tonic for your face and hair with a steamed towel for 25 cents.
Scott was known for his skill and execution of classic cuts like the flat top, crew cut and a style called Hollywood - short on top and longer on the sides and back. His brother, Lamont, taught him how to perfect each cut.
“I gave a good haircut when I was in my prime,” he said. “I could cut a flat top, Hollywood, better than anybody around, I thought so.”
Scotty’s became a hub - a place where customers could get a haircut but more importantly relax whether that meant getting shoes shined or taking in a wrestling match on TV while waiting their turn.
“There’s always going to be someone out there that needs a haircut. If you do it right and cut decent hair you can spread your own advertising,” which worked well for Scotty’s for decades, Scott said.
The shop also was a retail marketplace for shaving supplies for quite some time. Dudley’s Laundry Co. made a regular stop there to pick up and drop off freshly laundered linens.
While being a successful barber, Scott raised four children, Terri, Jodi, Jim and Heather, with his wife, Connie. He also sold insurance for a few years along with running the barbershop and remained steadfast in his involvement in the community, serving on the volunteer fire department as chief, active in a bowling league, and even posing in drag for a community fundraiser.
His family has been encouraging him to retire for a few years now. At 82 years old and after 60 years of hair care, Scott decided perhaps they were right.
Even though he’s officially retired, don’t plan on Scott letting his hair down. He joked that he will be spending most of his time at doctor’s appointments now with some health issues that have cropped up as he advances in age.