Local Barbershop Takes Customers Back in Time
Columbus’ Short North Arts District is home to a number of art galleries, specialty shops, restaurants, pubs and bars, all of which help to extend the artistically avant-garde atmosphere of the area.
Chris Turner joined the neighborhood two years ago and added his own touch to the mix when he opened his uniquely designed barbershop in the Short North.
Turner’s Barber Shop & Shaving Parlor, located at 1249 N. High St., has an atmosphere all its own and a style reminiscent of the early 1900s.
“It felt like I traveled back in time to the 1920s, especially with all the vintage-styled haircuts [Chris] had hanging on the wall,” said Keith Tracy, one of Turner’s customers.
Upon entering the shop, visitors are automatically aware that it is not a typical barbershop, at least not one from this era.
One large wall is covered with a variety of relics, including a mounted deer head, swords and a rifle, as well as an old crafted piece of metal that has hooks from which four traditional straight razors hang.
But what takes up the majority of the wall is an array of old, black and white photographs of straight-faced, well-dressed (and classically coiffed) men. Included in the assortment are headshots of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
Aside from the visual components, a vintage record player sits in the front corner of the shop playing a compilation of music from the turn of the century, which goes synonymously with the décor.
Turner himself moved to the city seven years ago from Coshocton, which is an hour and 20 minutes northeast of Columbus.
Turner said he was 19 years old when he knew he wanted to get into the barber business. The flexibility and “the craft of barbering” are some of the things that prompted him.
“I had a couple of family friends who were barbers plus I did see this kind of cool, trendy kick coming from the west coast. It was like a bunch of younger barbers, so I’d say that kind of helped out,” Turner said.
When asked about the theme he chose for his shop, Turner said it mainly reflects his interests as well as his hobby of collecting.
“I’ve been a fan of the turn of the century. I do a lot of collecting with aspects of what you see here … Basically, I collect weird things,” he said.
Turner had previously owned about half of the relics that decorate the shop, while the other half he bought after the fact.
“This was a theme I wanted to do and had never seen in Columbus yet, so I just went for it,” he said.
Jacob Eidelberg, another customer of Turner’s, said a trip to Turner’s Barber Shop is “an experience” and the overall appeal lies not only in receiving a quality haircut, but also in the details that make the shop unique.
“Few other establishments evoke a lost time or culture, and that’s exactly what Chris excels at,” Eidelberg said. “Chris replicated that experience to a fine degree from the straight-razor shaves, the music, the selection of local handmade beard oils and even the chair you sit in.”
In fact, the two vintage barber chairs in the shop are indeed from the era that Turner’s Barber Shop evokes. One is from 1927 and the other from 1942, both of which Turner bought through his collecting ventures.
Turner works five days per week, excluding Wednesday and Sunday. He opens up shop at nine o’clock and stays until about seven.
Turner said he has 19-20 customers each workday and he schedules them around a 30-minute break, which he takes in the middle of the day. As of now, Turner is the sole barber, but he plans to change that at some point.
“I’d like to have this as a three-chair barber shop,” Turner said.
Turner has just one employee, Brian, who takes calls and books appointments. Soon Brian will be attending barber school and will then be able to relieve Turner of some of his workload.
As was the case when Turner was first considering becoming a barber, one of his favorite parts about his business is the flexibility as well as the fact that he does not have to answer to anyone but himself.
“Even though I’m here everyday and do long hours, I am my own boss,” Turner said.
It seems the only negative thing about his job that Turner can think of is the number of hours he works, but that is overshadowed by the fact that he gets to do what he loves for a living.
“I own my own craft,” Turner said, “If you love what you do, you don’t work as much.”
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/TurnersBarberShopShavingParlor.