‘Never dreaded coming to work’: longtime owner of The Malls

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image by: Lauren Fox

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Bob Brandt, owner of The Malls Barber Shop, is pictured on Sept. 29, one working day right before his retirement.

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A single of the hardest pieces of Bob Brandt’s 53-year vocation as a barber, he explained, is leaving it.

Wednesday is Brandt’s past working day as operator of The Malls Barber Shop, a fixture of the Lawrence community because 1959. Brandt has been the proprietor of the store, found at 711 W. 23rd Avenue, for 38 a long time.

When questioned how he at first bought into the hair enterprise, Brandt mentioned it just appeared like it would be a enjoyable detail to do.

“It turned out to be a tiny little bit more than enjoyment. It turned out to be a daily life occupation,” he claimed. Brandt, now 71, began chopping hair at 18.

photograph by: Lauren Fox

Bob Brandt owned The Malls Barber Store for 38 many years. He’s pictured in the store on Sept. 29, 2020.

Brandt moved to Lawrence in 1972, and bought The Malls Barber Store from its unique proprietor in 1982. By that position, Brandt claimed, the small business was quite nicely founded. 23rd Road was a occupied thoroughfare, and it was just one of the southernmost points in town. Even as Lawrence has expanded and 23rd Road has turn into less occupied due to the South Lawrence Trafficway, he explained the store has endured.

“I assume as the metropolis grows you got to discover to improve with it,” Brandt stated.

The longtime barber stated he likes the occupation thanks to the conversation with his shoppers. His favorite reminiscences, he claimed, are situations on which he’s gotten to get the job done with 3 generations of the same household. Clientele who ended up mother and father have turned into grandparents, and Brandt mentioned he’s particularly heading to overlook working with “the minor fellas.” He’s minimize the hair of children as young as 6 months, and he’s gotten to check out as some of his shoppers have graduated from their parent’s lap, to his booster seat (which he phone calls the board), to the key chair.

Brandt claimed the shop sees a mixture of local community customers and college students. The barber store is decked out in College of Kansas photographs, newspaper clippings and decorations. Some the shop offered, Brandt said. Some others are items from local community users.

image by: Lauren Fox

Bob Brandt owned The Malls Barber Store for 38 years. He’s pictured in his barber store on Sept. 29, 2020.

When requested if he has a beloved haircut to give, Brandt claimed, “Well, I’ll explain to you what, we have viewed a ton of them in the past 38 decades.”

Each and every 4 or 5 yrs, there’s a new hair fad, Brandt mentioned. He enjoys owning college college students appear in because some out of condition customers “bring distinctive concepts with them and unique haircuts,” he explained. “Sometimes it works and often it doesn’t. It is been a great deal of exciting.”

Brandt mentioned that two of the biggest life classes he’s figured out in his job are the relevance of tolerance and how to get alongside with individuals. Things don’t generally go so effectively if a haircut is hurried, he claimed, and since the customer foundation can be so varied, “you’ve got to be rather multipurpose.”

Brandt has experienced 11 distinct barbers doing work alongside him through his a long time at The Malls. Now, his existing colleague, Jeff Brown, will get above as operator. Brown has labored at The Malls Barber Shop for 31 yrs.

image by: Lauren Fox

Bob Brandt, ideal, will transfer possession of The Malls Barber Store to Jeff Brown, left, on Oct. 1.

Though Brandt is nervous about his changeover to retirement, it’s not going to be as abrupt as it could be. On Nov. 3, he’ll return to The Malls Barber Shop to operate two times a week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In any other case, in his no cost time, he plans to travel much more with his spouse.

Brandt explained he never ever considered switching to one more career, and that he’d like to thank the men and women who have supported the barbershop throughout the decades.

“I’ve been really joyful accomplishing this,” he said. “I’ve by no means dreaded coming to operate, which is for guaranteed.”

image by: Lauren Fox

Bob Brandt cuts consumer Jim Walker’s hair on Sept. 29.

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