50 Years a Quiet Triumph for Bob Martin from Stag Barbershop
Photo courtesy of Tony Henry
Bob Martin, 77, surprised by his anniversary party on Tuesday, February 19 at his store. The party attracted a number of its regular customers to celebrate.
Senhomish – At the Stag Barbershop, Bob Martin leads a razor-sharp orchestra and lively conversations with loyal customers awaiting their stories.
He’s got a good ear, but his hand is even better after 50 years of working on making men look their best.
Inside, a stuffed zoo of bear, cats, foxes, and ducks covers the walls.
From the welcoming scent of lotion and shaving cream to the rounds of ammunition on the walls, every inch of the place says “Make yourself comfortable, you’re among friends.”
Glowing neon signs outside entice male customers, and a few ladies. Some of them are descendants of Martin’s original clients. Opened in 1969 as the first tenant of the shopping plaza in Snohomish Square on D Street.
Friends and colleagues surprised Martin for his shop’s golden anniversary last week, celebrating a business Martin never planned.
After completing his service in the Marine Corps in 1963, Martin intended to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a lawyer, but he was fortunate to have thousands of clients—a lawyer friend dissatisfied with the profession helped dissuade him.
Martin obviously prefers commonsense over controversy anyway.
“I love people, conversation, and social life,” he said. “If you’re not a fan of people,” this isn’t the right job.
It used to be that he would look out the window and recognize the face of every child he saw by name, but while Snohomish has grown since it opened, all of his customers feel like family.
Tony Henry looks like the heir apparent to Martin.
Barbers have a lot in common, including military service, solo parenting, and a love of work.
In Martin’s case, he raised not only three children, but also grandchildren.
After coming to Stag for a cut, Henry returns, telling Martin he’s always wanted to be a barber, but life got in his way.
With an agreement that he would find a waiting job if he returned to Stag properly certified, Henry started his business.
But building a client base takes time and not so long ago, Henry wondered if he should give up his dream career before it just started.
Once again, Martin got an offer.
Today, Henry lives on Martin’s estate, saving so much rent that he manages to stay in the trade as he builds followers.
When Martin moves into part-time work in a couple of months, he says it will be Henry who will step up and eventually take over the company.
Over the course of five decades, he’s seen plenty of hairstyles come and go. Pop teams and sports stars each had 15 minutes, from the Beatles-style mop to Elvis’ signature pompadour to the blond mullet/mohawk hybrid known as “Bosworth” after the streak of former Seahawks linebacker of the same name.
Although the prices have gone up, from $2.50 to $25, they still only take cash and don’t take appointments.
And while he was willing to cut the client’s hair however they asked, 50 years of styling gave him plenty of time to form opinions.
As for the least-favorite cut, the side-shaved “hard part”, which the internet calls “edgy, modern, cool, and versatile,” but Martin has one word that experience-respecting customers might want to heed.
For clients who are open to expert opinion, like a bearded guy who I’m a bit late to trim, “I’m going to make you look so cool you might get a date,” he teases.
The shepherd on the chair replied with a chuckle: “I’m not sure my wife would like it.”
Angela Cooper McCorcle: [email protected] / 360-568-4121 x124
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