'Cutting up a little bit, one way or another': Downers Grove barbershop marks anniversary
DOWNERS GROVE — When Sandy Agee talks about building her business from the ground up, it's more than just a metaphor for modest beginnings.
When she and her co-owner, Geri Hulbert, first moved into their store space at 5115 Washington St. 10 years ago, there was no floor. Washington Street Barber Shop, literally, was built from the ground up.
"It's been an adventure to say the least," Agee said.
Last weekend, Agee and Hulbert celebrated their shop's anniversary with a party, cake and, fittingly, a barber shop quartet — and the two remarked on how far they've come.
"We took pictures from when we started to now," Hulbert said. "It's amazing what we can do. It took a while — it didn't happen overnight, but (with) a lot of help from family and friends."
Between the two of them and a third professionally licensed barber, Kathie Stack, they tout 75 years of hair-cutting experience, Hulbert said.
Barbering is different than basic hair styling. According to state licensing, only barbers are qualified to shave and trim beards. These days, a barber shop entirely run by women is not too uncommon, Hulbert said, but she recalled it being a rare thing when she was starting out.
"We went into barbering when it was a time when men had left the field," she said. "We joined the ranks and enjoyed learning, going through the challenge of trimming and shaving. Some men still prefer the male barber, but a lot of men don't care — and the moms bring the children for their cuts."
Make no mistake, though, Washington Street Barber Shop looks and feels like what you'd expect in a shop for men's haircuts. Old Cubs and White Sox pictures and pennants line the walls, and the television is most often tuned to sports.
Plus, on weekends, the shop offers complimentary coffees from its downtown neighbor, Ingram's Busy Bee Bakery.
But it's the intangibles that make the shop a comfortable place to be, Agee said. The three of them all worked together for years before branching out on their own, and with their longtime customers they've built a little community.
"We have a lot of fun," she said. "Everybody's cutting up a little bit, one way or another."
More about Washington Street Barber Shop
Where: 5115 Washington St.
More info: Walk-ins welcome
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