There’s a sign posted on one of the wall-to-wall mirrors inside Fulton Barber Shop on Gaither Street. It’s taped right next to the one that reads “No profanity,” and it details the shop’s prices.
A cut costs $9. A hot-towel shave runs the same. Want both? That’s $15.
Those are throwback prices. Then again, the very notion of a barber shop is a bit of a throwback in and of itself.
“It’s a dying trend,” said Danny Stovall, 36, the shop’s owner and lone barber, of standalone barber shops. Over the decades, businesses like Fulton Barber Shop, which has been open for at least 85 years, probably longer, have been clipped away by shopping mall haircut chains and beauty salons. But Stovall’s business is still very much what it was when it was in the hands of its previous owner, the late Elwood Shumpert, and the long-gone owners before him.
It’s a place for a fella to get an inexpensive cut and shave. Conversation is on the house.
“You get a lot of different people and personalities in here,” Stovall said, snipping away a bit of hair from a customer’s head as he talked. People come in, talk shop or guns or cars while Stovall cuts their hair, trade a few items, leave and return in a week or two. Each one brings with him a good story or two. That’s the part Stovall loves.
“I learn so much every day,” he said. “I get a lot of earthly wisdom in here learning from other people.”
Stovall, who bought the business eight years ago, said a chunk of his customers are police officers and guardsmen, factory workers and older men. All in all, he estimated that he cuts somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-85 heads of hair each week, although this number jumps around a lot.
“I have slow weeks and busy weeks; you never really know what it’s going to be from day to day,” he said.
Although he comes from a family full of musicians, Stovall said the notion of being a barber came to him in his childhood days back in Red Bay, Ala.
“I remember going to the local barber, walking in and talking with the people there,” Stovall said. He laughed and added, “I also remember he had a box full of money. I told myself, that’s what I want to do.”
Stovall spent some time at Northeast Community College, where he spent evenings cutting hair out of his dorm room.
“Before I knew it, I was cutting a lot of hair,” he said. Not long after that, Stovall enrolled in barber college in Hamilton, Ala.
When he got a job at the Fulton Barber Shop, he knew immediately that he wanted to own it.
“I wanted to buy it right off the bat,” Stovall admitted. “I didn’t want to rent a chair from anyone.”
Eight years later, Stovall’s still loving what he does: Cutting hair, trimming beards and talking up the locals.
Just like the good old days.
Owner: Danny Stovall
Address: 104 North Gaither Street, Fulton
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; closed Wednesday and Sunday
In business: More than 85 years
Number of employees: One
Primary business: Haircuts and shaves