Shave and a haircut? Not for
two bits these days, but still available in Wellsville
By Liz Lawyer
April 1, 2006 | WELLSVILLE -- Though beauty
salons have become more common and most men shave
in the comfort of their own bathrooms every morning,
men once went to the barbershop every few days
to have the neighborhood barber give them a shave
and engage in some deep discussion.
A bit of this tradition has taken root in Wellsville,
just off Main Street in a barbershop that opened
recently. The traditional painted blue-and-red-striped
barber's pole is out front and the centerpiece
of the shop is the barber's chair, where Larry
Pitcher, a 70-year-old resident of College Ward,
plies his trade.
The scene in Pitcher's shop is much like what
one would expect. A mirror and counter line the
back wall and a magazine rack stands near the
front desk. A radio plays music in the background
as Pitcher combs out the hair of one of his customers.
He stands back to view his handiwork and whisks
the apron off his customer's lap.
"That was so enjoyable I didn't want it to end,"
the customer said.
Pitcher is a life-long Cache Valley native. He
was born and raised on a dairy farm in Cornish
and though he lived in Salt Lake City and Ogden
for quite a while, he returned to the valley and
now offers his hair-cutting skills to Cache Valley
residents, as the sign in front of his shop assures
WIZARD: Larry Pitcher's happy to be the
barber of Wellsville. / Photo by Liz Lawer
The "Scissor Wizard" is in from 9 to 5:30, it says,
Tuesday through Friday.
Pitcher headed to barber school in 1953 after graduating
from high school. He said his cousin came out of the
military and headed to school in Salt Lake City on the
G.I. bill, and Pitcher went with him. After the six-month
program he served a year-long apprenticeship in a Smithfield
barbershop. The first shop he owned himself was in Lewiston.
After living in Ogden for 20 years he headed back
to the valley of his birth. Fifty-three years after
starting his career, Pitcher opened for business in
Wellsville after his shop in Hyrum was demolished to
make way for a library.
So the Scissor Wizard has settled into his sixth shop
since beginning work as a barber. Pitcher said he likes
being a barber.
"You get to find out where the good fishing spots
are and some of the new jokes," he said, sitting on
a bench in his shop where customers can wait their turn
for a $7 haircut. "You hear lots of opinions about religion,
politics and such."
Pitcher said business hasn't suffered much from the
move. He said he has customers who come from all over
the valley to have him cut their hair, and some of his
customers have become good friends over the years. "All
my customers are my friends, practically," he said.
He knows the barbershop is a dying breed.
"Men used to get their hair cut every two weeks, and
shaved every few days, he said. "Now they cut their
hair every six weeks or so." He still does a shave every
now and then, but the barber business is not the way
it used to be.
"Shaving used to be the mainstay of the barbershop,"
Though there have been some changes in barbering,
the fact that his shop is now an oddity is beneficial
to him. There aren't as many barbers nowadays, he said.
They are less common than hair dressers. Beauty school
and barber school used to be two different things and
women never used to cut men's hair. Now the two are
Whereas his customers used to include both men and
women, now they are mostly men, Pitcher said.
"Mainly because I do the men's hair while the women
decide what they want," he said, chuckling.