If you want to step back in time and get a good old-fashioned haircut, you need to check out History Barbershop Company.
History Barbershop Company began a little over four years ago in Midland; however the 39 Dunlop Street shop is the newest spot for History having opened in mid-January. Warren Forgie has been with History for roughly two years, starting at the original Midland location before moving to the Dunlop Street spot in the city he calls home; and the former human resources manager says he was glad he made the switch of professions.
“I was in HR previous to this and was really just looking to get out of the 9-to-5 world and do something more with my hands,” said Forgie. “I played in a band with a buddy of mine who worked at the shop and spoke very highly of it and at around the time they were looking for an apprentice; I threw my hat in the mix and here we are.”
The shop specializes in traditional cuts, hot towel shaves and beard care and while it does tend to have a large male clientele, women enjoy coming in to get work done as well which Forgie and his staff of four welcome.
“Our primary clientele is men but we do have quite a number of women coming in,” said Forgie. “We don’t care who the hair grows out of though, if you want a short haircut we’re happy to cut it. We love getting the different folks in here with different lengths as it breaks up the day a bit.”
Ontario is home to hundreds of hair styling schools and learning centres that specialize in the latest trends in the highly competitive beauty industry. Those who cut hair at History do need to know certain aspects of the education; Forgie says it’s all about the hands-on learning for those at History.
“The craft of barbering itself is really something that is handed down from journeyman to apprentice,” said Forgie. “Although you can go to hair school in Ontario there is not a school that is specifically tailored to barbering. When we got to hair school we have to learn everything from colouring to perms to long layered haircuts; it’s great to be well-rounded but there’s just not that opportunity for traditional barbering so you have to take an apprenticeship and be taught the classic way.”
The first thing you’ll notice about History is the old school spinning barber pole in the window and from there it’s a walk through nostalgia. There are pictures on the wall of Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and other celebrities of days gone by with records of musicians from the old days as well. While you’re waiting for your turn on the old-style chair, you can listen to some classic tunes and read a magazine or two. The website does say to be careful though, saying “WARNING: We Provide an Authentic Barber Shop Atmosphere – Dirty Jokes, Abrasive Conversation and Adult Magazines... Enter at Your Own Risk.”
Forgie admits it is part of the charm for History and the customers love the throwback feel.
“I think the atmosphere draws people in for curiosity reasons,” said Forgie. “But I am certain that the great cut is what keeps bringing them back.”
For more information on History Babershop Company or to book an appointment, check out their website.