Barber shop celebrates old age


To many people, age is only a number. For the University Barber Shop it is a cause for celebration. The only problem is this: how old is it?

That is the dilemma Chris Hickman, University Barber Shop owner, 817 Lincoln Highway Suite D, has to face. Hickman, a fourth generation barber, wanted to have an anniversary party for his barber shop but could not find out the exact age of it.

“I was going to do a 50-year thing, and I wanted to do research,” Hickman said. “But it’s hard to talk to people [who may know]. I don’t want to bother the [old] owner, but I don’t want to faultily represent the shop.”

However, age does not seem to have taken a toll on the barber shop. Hickman said the location helps to keep the shop running.

“It’s more of a local shop, and there’s a lot of regulars,” Hickman said. “[We have] about 3,000 to 5,000 rotating clientele.”

Among the clientele is NIU Police Chief Donald Grady. Grady said the attention to detail is what sets the University Barber Shop apart from others.

“The people [at the shop] are very good, very attentive and very friendly,” Grady said. “I’m finicky about my hair, and they take the time to make sure that when I leave, I’m happy.”

Attentiveness to customers is not the only uniqueness of the barber shop. A bagging system that is attached to the clippers keeps excess hair off the client and the barber not to mention the floor.

Hickman said the shop also spans many generations.

“The oldest person working here is 34, so it’s a youth-oriented shop,” Hickman said. “We also have a good rapport with the older guys, too.”

Colin Sullivan, freshman physical education major, has yet to get his hair cut at the University Barber Shop but would not be opposed to trying something new.

“I’m picky, but for definitive hair chopping, I’d go there,” Sullivan said.

Despite his success with his shop, Hickman does not plan on becoming a famous barber anytime soon.

“I’m not going to be a Fortune 500 company,” Hickman said. “I like that it’s a local thing that focuses on the community.”