Earl Widmer

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Earl Widmer - ffe Story and photo LY JANE ALEXANDER ten Earl...
ffe Story and photo LY JANE ALEXANDER ten Earl tyidmer got his start a barber in 1923, a haircut illy cost tfoo bits—but the shdve a 15 cents extra. Now the corned price is $7, and Widmer his technique is better than sr. 7°' w ^mer can only work t time because he must limit earnings to get full Social Se- benefits, when he's 72 he offering regular haircuts, flattops, and hair styling for men, women, and Children; eveii shaving and fa* cial work. Most of his patrons are regular customers, Widmer says he was able to adapt to the styling trend that started for men about 15 years ago because of his work on ladies hair in the 1930s. "Ladies haircut- r ting in the 30s was shorter than men's haircutting is today, but the technique Was about the same," he says. a beauty shop for almost eight years," he remarks. **••-: ' NttW •-• eneraiton ...J be able to earii&s much as he wants, .and he plans to keep work- l 1 ^? ]? n .£r as he can do a good jomffi find I feel better ;:^he'n I'm. working rather than doing rioth- HS&r he says. now leases Earl's Barber p, 3016 N. 16th St., to his son, |, and he is actually Ron's em- ye. He works only by appoint- .Jt, and tries to be in the shop th$»]ast three days of the week, When the demand is greatest. iBJoth hairstyles and the equipment barbers use have changed radically since Widmer started coding hair 52 years ago. The gfjefctest changes have come within the last 26 years, since he o|gned his two-chair shop in Phoe- nfi£, Widmer says his secret to staging in business so long was to' lelirn modern hairstyling tech- ntpes using power equipment and toarffer a wide-variety of services *~"-3 customer. , : describes his shop as possi- he most versatile in town- Widmer got his start in haircutting in Ohio. He first-helped his older brother on Saturdays in his shop in Powhatan, Ohio} wheh y hei was only 15. "It was a coal mining town,-arid we often worked until 2-3 a.m. Sundays because the miners got drunk after work and stayed up all night," he recalls. In 1925 he decided to find steady work as a barber. He attended barber college because, although licenses were not required at that time, state government officials were planning to initiate them. His first Job after graduating was m Wheeling, W.Va. where he had studied haircutting. In 1926 he left Wheeling for shops in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. "Barber shops got ladies' business until about 1927. In 1928 when we began losing our ladies' business, I decided,to quit and go into a beauty shop to learn to cut • ladies' hair—blocking and shaping for different lengths. I worked in the &meiology license becanje effective in Ohio. The company Wjdmel worked for got him the lieense, and at that time he was also required to have a barber's ;licen$e for cutting women's hair/ ^ f "I ha^decidel^ wanted to gd back into the barber business because when you worked for a chain beauty shop like I did, they only paid you 55 per cent of what you took in. A union barber shop hdd to pay! a master barber 70 per •cent, so I figured I'd make more money in a barber shop— and I did," he adds., He left Akron to set up a barber shop in Loudonville, Ohio. "I had my OWi! equipment I just -had to move it down thei*e and for $50 I was back in ^business,'' he contin- 'ties.;- *: 'V. rt ,; : .v ;:; : '< ?A weather" and scenery, so he Moved here with hi§ family in 1950. Wldmer's son Rofl was discharged from the U.S. Marine , Corps in 1953 in Philadelphia and drove immediately to Phoenix* •'Vpwt years later his father talked him into attending barber college, although he had never thought he •Wanted to be a barber. After six .months of school and two years as an apprentice in his father's shop, he too became a master barber. Ron and his father both feel the new longer styles for men here to stay as long as women like them, "The biggest reason for trends in men's hair styles is how/ women want them to look," Wid-f mersays. It*s no secret that women like men to keep a full head of hair, .and Widmer says he has no secret except heredity for keeping his at 70iV "My grandfather was 80 When he died, and he had a lot of half. My father had a lot when he was 78, when he passed away. I just fceep tt dean—that Is the best secret for everything," he says. "Hail'.all boils down to one thihg^-the condition of your blood supplying the hair follicles. atTfhe roots. If your bloddstreani is good, yoii're g$ng to have good hair prdviding you've got good circulation. I thitik a lot_of.people,go toald because the cirulation^is riot :g;66d on the top of their heads. Massage will help while they still have hair, .but not after they lose it." Then m>i9'4l World War n began for the United ^States, and the,gpy^rmnent:,rfPaired .him to ' go to worK in 5 a' defense pl^nt or he would have been drafted. He and his wife France^ now married 48 years, had three young daughters and a son, so he chose to return to Akron arid look for a job in a defense plant. "I was lucky because I used to cut hair for one of the top men in B. F. Goodrich Co. there. He saw me walk into the Goodrich employment office and said 'If you're looking for a job come with me.' I got a foreman's job. I stayed with Goodrich for eight years as a supervisor, and I would have went to the top with them if I had a college degree, but I only had my high school diploma," he says. He left Akron and started, another barber shop hvRittman, Ohio, a small town 14 miles west of Akron. On a vacation to' 1 Phoenix, where his mother and: father •hved, he was attracted,,to tHe Earl Widmer trims and styles hair for customer Jim Collins of Phoenix

Clipped from
  1. Arizona Republic,
  2. 08 May 1977, Sun,
  3. Page 146

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