Not long after we got to Durham, friends were recommending Rusty’s Barbershop to us. One must keep a good looking haircut while in England, of course. One afternoon I headed up the North Road to find Rusty’s in a small courtyard out of the main flow of traffic. As I walked in the door, I said to the young red-haired barber, “I hear this is the best place in Durham to get a haircut.” His reply was quick, “You must be a theology student. You are an American who comes recommended. I think I cut the hair of the whole theology department.”
As he set to work on my mop, he told me his story. The shop has been open about a year. He wants his shop to be more than just a place to get a haircut, he wants to build a community. These days, it is rare to find a barbershop where you can stop in for a haircut, all the town’s news, and someone with whom to share your joys and sorrows. Rusty is trying to create that atmosphere.
The place is comfortable with a proper barber’s chair, a stocked fridge, a sofa, and perhaps most importantly: TONS of video games. It seems like he has them all: Nintendo GameCube, Wii, Xbox, and even old school SEGA. He stocks tons of games where the kids can have a go and even me, an old man, can relive my video gaming glory days. We have had some fun times in there doing things other than a haircut. He has a display case full of baseball caps that people have brought him over the years: Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, New England Patriots, Florida State University. You can tell the Americans have tried to influence him. Rusty even enjoys teaching me some new Geordie terms. Our Geordie education is not limited to Beth’s time with Lynn and Kate!
Rusty does all of this not just to invest in his business. Rusty loves to invest in PEOPLE. It is encouraging to be together in a community that may be a little out of the ordinary these days. I am blessed to know Rusty and I am encouraged by his vision for people above business. I look forward to adding to his hat collection in my future trips back to Durham. I wonder what lid I will choose first?
Check out Rusty’s on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RustysBarbershop
Sounds like a modern day Floyd’s barber shop from Andy Griffin fame.
Well I will tell you back in the US barber shops have been fading strong in most parts of the country. Lately the have been making a bit of a comeback. Nothing beats the feel of a barber shop experience. They are hard to find now and that’s what makes them so intriguing.
That’s the feel that Rusty is trying to create. There are many wonderful things about the community of the barbershop.