The Business of Barbering
Two men fight fads, chains and development to keep their craft alive
Westfield Barber Shop is at 120 Camilla Ct., behind Tom Roush Budget Center on Ind. 32. The shop is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Wednesday and Sunday. Owner Chuck Barrick said the shop doesn’t take appointments. “We never have,” he said. Regular haircuts are $14, $12 for senior citizens and beard trims are $5.For more than three decades, Tony Laurenzana and Chuck Barrick cut hair at 301 W. Main St., just three blocks west of downtown Westfield. Today their store, Anthony’s Barber Shop, sits vacant as one of the many business casualties of the Ind. 32 expansion project.
Unfortunately, that chapter in Laurenzana’s life is not over – not yet. The longtime Westfield resident and businessman technically still owns the property because the state has not signed any paperwork or paid him for the land.
“I’m paying a mortgage and insurance on an empty building as the state’s money sits in escrow. I’ve been paying for six months,” he said.
Laurenzana selected his property along Ind. 32 all those years ago because in real estate, it’s all about “location, location, location.”
“You buy it on a main thoroughfare and the state comes along and basically wants to steal your property,” he said. “The problem I am having, if there was no place to go, I’d still be over there fighting the state to the last second.”
Anthony’s Barber Shop closed its doors on Sept. 1, 2012. For the past six months, Laurenzana and Barrick have been at their new location at 120 Camilla Ct. Now named Westfield Barber Shop, it was the first business to sign a lease at the city-owned strip mall.
“In 1972, my cousin owned the laundry mat at the end,” Laurenzana said.
When the two learned about the state’s plan to purchase their land, Laurenzana began searching for a new location in either Westfield or Noblesville, where most of his customers are from.
“We looked at every mall from Spring Mill to Hazel Dell. What they wanted for rent was way out of our range,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the City of Westfield, we’d be gone.”
At Anthony’s Barber Shop, Laurenzana owned the business and Barrick leased one of the two red vinyl barber’s chairs. When the store relocated, Barrick bought the business.
“I don’t see any difference,” Barrick said as Laurenzana nodded in approval.
From Oct. 30, 2011, to Sept. 1, 2012, Laurenzana had his customers sign their name and provide contact information so they could be informed of the impending move. His book contains more than 600 names.
“We’ve got a good customer base,” he said.
So far, Laurenzana and Barrick have been pleased that most of their customers have continued frequenting the new store and actually like the expanded parking lot and not having to park along Ind. 32.
“I’ve been surprised; we’ve gained 40 new heads. We rely on new faces coming in,” Laurenzana said.
Noblesville’s Ed Teal has been getting his hair cut by Barrick and Laurenzana for 25 years.
“My hair is a little hard to cut and get it to lay right,” he said.
Laurenzana began his career as a barber in Westfield on Feb. 28, 1972, after leaving his job in the banking business.
“My brother was a beautician and talked me into becoming a barber,” he said. “In the banking business, it’s all about who you know. I could see the writing on the wall.”
Laurenzana and Barrick began working together in 1981.
“It’s about like a wife and husband,” Barrick said. “I take it a day at a time, and it’s worked that way for 32 years.”
“He’s like family. We can trust each other and that’s hard to do in today’s world – find someone you can trust,” Laurenzana said.
The two disagree on who called whom in the beginning, but Laurenzana had been working by himself at Anthony’s Barber Shop 10 hours a day, six days a week for eight years. While talking with one of his customers, Laurenzana said he was looking at hiring a second barber. The customer knew Barrick and suggested the two get in contact.
“I was driving 53 miles to Marion to cut hair for my uncle. After two years it was wearing on me working 12-hour days,” said Barrick, who comes from a family of barbers including his grandfather and his father, Bud, who has been cutting hair in Sheridan since 1952.
As much as they enjoy their jobs, both said barbers were a dying breed. Laurenzana and Barrick have faced three adversities in their barber careers – losing their business location, the long hair fad of the late 60s and the boom of chain hair cutting stores.
“We retained enough customers to make a living,” Barrick said. “There was a time when we stood behind the chairs from when we opened to when we closed. When Great Clips opened, it knocked (business) down quite a bit.”
“I used to put a sign out that said, ‘We fix $6.99 haircuts,’” Laurenzana joked.