Tri-State Original: Mike's Barber Shop - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Tri-State Original: Mike's Barber Shop


QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM)-- These days, you can get a haircut just about anywhere.

But if you're looking for the feel of an old-fashioned barber shop, that's a bit harder to find.

Barber shops are slowly becoming a thing of the past and the ones that are left may not be there much longer.

And the ones that are left are filled with decades of history, and in this edition of Tri-State Originals we stopped by one here in Quincy to see what makes these places so special.

When you walk into Mike's Barber Shop, it looks simple enough, one chair, one barber, you just sit down and wait your turn.

And for some customers, that's just the way they like it.

"We got the USA Today to read and a couple of magazines and first thing you know is you bump into someone you know and time goes by and you get a haircut and you're gone and back again," said Bing Welper.

Welper has been getting his hair cut here for more than four years.   He says he gets a good cut for a good price, but there's also something nostalgic that keeps him coming back.

"It's got something to do with memories. You grow up in a men's barber shop and gosh you just kind of fall back into the same habit," Welper said.

And for barber Mike Cadwell, he wouldn't have it any other way.

"Especially the older customers. It just brings back childhood memories," Cadwell said.

 Cadwell's been in charge here at Mike's Barber Shop for more than 40 years. His spot is one of the few remaining "old fashioned" barber shops left in the area, a place where Cadwell says customers come for more than just a shape up above the ears.

"You become part of a family of people. And certain guys come on certain days because they're friends come on the same days and they meet, they get their hair cut and they sit and visit," Cadwell said.

 But places like Cadwell's are slowly dying out. The art of specializing in men's haircuts is starting to fade and after nearly four decades in business, Cadwell says at age 61 he's still the youngest barber in the area.

"So you can see an end is coming to it. The few shops that are left, they guys are all older, they'll all be retiring or semi-retiring," Cadwell said.

Something Cadwell himself is getting old enough to do, but says retirement is still a couple of years away.

"You work hard, but it's rewarding. I can't walk up the street without seeing people I know. And I have a lot of wonderful memories and a lot of good experiences in the business," Cadwell said.

Cadwell says one reason for the declining barber shops may have to do with the small business environment.

More and more aspiring barbers and cosmetologists are choosing to go to established locations that offer benefits like health insurance, or are choosing to work on a part-time basis.

But one of the other barber shops in Quincy features something none of the others do.  A female, dual-licensed barber/cosmetologist.

Amy King runs Amy's on Broadway and opened her shop two years ago, after owning a barbershop in Reno, Nevada for a number of years.

King's shop is located at 1118 Broadway and she says she's taking new customers and plans to be in business until she retires.

If you know of another barber shop in the tri-states that's different or full of history, leave us a comment or tell us about it on our Facebook page.


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