Clintonville Barber Shop Celebrates Area History
The Longview Barber Shop is the oldest continually operated business in Clintonville, which is celebrating 92 years in business this year. After completion a recent renovation and historical restoration project, owner and full tie barber Dave Carty wanted to provide a more thoughtful historic element for the community to enjoy. A temporary display created by the Clintonville Historical Society was unveiled on their walls earlier this week and will remain in place over the course of the next year. We recently spoke with Dave for a Q&A session about the history of his business, the neighborhood, and more.
Q: Can you first tell us a bit about the history of the Longview Barber Shop?
A: Longview Barber Shop was opened in 1919 by a barber named Tom Pletcher. Tom was returning from fighting in World War One and opened the shop in the back room of a Clintonville drug store. In 1926, Mr. Pletcher moved the shop to the corner of High Street and Longview Avenue and it was then renamed to the Longview Barber Shop. At that time, the shop had one barber, one stylist and one shoe shine man. Four other owners operated in this building until the business was moved to its current location at 3325 North High Street in 1981. All told, Longview Barber Shop has had seven owners and three storefronts but has remained on the same block in Clintonville for ninety-two years.
Q: So how long have you been involved with the business?
A: I started working at Longview in 1998. Jim Pack, an owner that had worked at the shop for 38 years, was retiring and planning to sell the shop to a young man that worked for him named Chris Petrosky. Chris and I worked together for five years. He decided to open a shop in his home town, giving me the opportunity to buy the shop in 2003. So, counting my time working with him, I have been an owner for ten years.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the customer experience at Longview?
A: Longview customers are like family to us. Barber shop customers should always feel that way. We spend more time with them than we do our actual families. They are loyal and passionate about their barber shop. Many of them have been coming to our shop their entire lives. One customer in particular is 100 years old and has been coming to the shop all of our ninety two years! In my time at the shop they have endured consistent growth and although many are understandably concerned about changes, they have trusted and supported us and helped us keep our focus. With that support we have gone from a two to four chair shop in just the past five years. They want things kept simple and so do we. No appointments, no high priced services… just good haircuts from barbers that know them and really care about them and their community.
Q: Aside from haircuts, are there any other services offered like shaves or product sales?
A: Not really. One reason we love cutting hair at this period in time is the challenge of knowing the variety of cuts that are popular right now. Nothing is really “out of style” at this point. We really feel that cutting hair is a talent many shops have lost. At Longview, we’ll do the haircuts our customers are looking for and then probably advise them to buy some reasonably priced shampoo at the local grocer.
Q: Tell us a little about the new Historic Clintonville exhibit in the shop and what caused you to want to produce this display?
A: In the last few years we have worked really hard to bring the barber shop back to its roots. We wanted to honor our 1919 founding with a remodel that would look as much like that time period as we could. After many upgrades that included taking out old stuff to bring in much older stuff, we were finally able to invite the Clintonville Historical Society back in, who we’ve always had a great relationship with. The timeline piece they arranged has 12 panels that traces Clintonville history from the Northwest Territory time period to the founding of our barber shop. It contains so much great information about our area and customers love it.
Q: Did the Clintonville Historical Society provide all of the items in the display or were they collected from other sources?
A: The pieces come from local residents, establishments, authors and historians. We want to promote the Clintonville Historical Society, help them to add even more pieces to their collection, and help them secure a permanent home for these items. The sooner they have a permanent location, the faster the community will be comfortable sharing items from their personal Clintonville history collections.
Q: So how long will this temporary display be in place?
A: We are committed to having the timeline display up for at least one year. They plan to update it as we go along and hopefully the space they’re using will be helpful to them long after this first piece is enjoyed by our community.
More information can be found online at Longview’s Facebook Page.
All photography by Adam Slane.