Barnes Barber Shop
381 Gunter Avenue
Guntersville, AL, 35976
Tuesday - Friday 7:30am - 5pm Saturday 7am - 2 pm
There had been a barber shop at 381 Gunter Avenue in Guntersville for 16 years, when Colin Barnes first began cutting hair there in 1964. He purchased the building in 1967, and 50 years later is still going strong.
Now 72-years-old, Colin shares the shop with his son Daren Barnes, Levon Stone and Aaron Stone. Between the four men, they have more than 150 years of experience cutting hair.
And according to Daren, his dad can still cut circles around his younger counterparts.
“He can still give a haircut quicker and better than any of us,” Daren says respectfully of his father.
But each one of them has had scissors in their hand since they were teenagers.
For Colin, becoming a barber was a way off the roof at D.A.R. school where he was working as a laborer.
“I’d have done anything that would get me off that roof,” Colin says. And barbering is what came along.
It was 1962 and Colin was just 18-years-old when he began cutting hair in Huntsville.
“You could train at a barber shop then go take your test back then,” Colin adds, “and that’s what I did.”
But within a couple of years, Colin found his way to what would soon become Barnes Barber shop. The hours were better and it put him closer to his home in Grant.
“I still enjoy cutting hair and I can still cut hair good,” Colin says. “It’s a job I’ve never dreaded coming to.”
And perhaps that’s because Colin truly enjoys his customers and having the chance to visit regularly with so many of the friends he’s made over the years.
“I’ve got customers who I’ve cut their hair since I came here,” Colin says.
But as much as he enjoys visiting with his customers, a real treat for Colin is working beside his son Daren.
“We’re more than father and son,” Colin says. “We’re best friends.”
And you’re not likely to meet a man that speaks more highly of his father than Daren Barnes.
Daren’s career as a barber wasn’t preordained. In fact, Colin never pushed Daren toward barbering at all.
“I didn’t hang out here a lot when I was a kid,” Daren says. “Daddy has a farm, he’s always raised cattle, I was driving a tractor when I was 11-years-old.”
But Colin did leave the option on the table for his son.
“When you get ready to make a barber, I’ll teach you how to cut hair,” Daren recalls his father saying.
Daren had been giving free haircuts to friends and neighbors, when at 18, he decided to follow in Colin’s footsteps.
Colin suggested Daren enroll in the barbering course at Calhoun Community College in Decatur and that’s what he did.
After about 6 months, Colin had seen enough and knew Daren had learned all he could from school. The rest of his education would come at his daddy’s side.
And that gave Daren tremendous confidence as a young man.
“You’re going to mess some haircuts up when you’re young,” Daren says.” Daddy could always help me, step in if needed.”
And while barbering may seem like a family affair for the Barnes, Levon and Aaron Stone take the notion to a whole other level.
Levon, a second-generation barber has seen barbering spread throughout the limbs of his family tree.
“My dad, some of my uncles and some of my cousins are barbers,” Levon says. “Nieces, nephews … all them.”
For Levon, cutting hair was all but a foregone conclusion.
“When I was 10 or 11-years old I had to go with my daddy and shine shoes,” Lavon says. “Then when I was 15 he put up a sign in the barber shop that said Free Haircuts and that’s how I got started cutting hair.”
Levon had his own little barber shop in Grant when Colin had a chair open up and approached him about coming to work with him in Guntersville. That was 32-years-ago.
“I’ll retire a barber, there’s no doubt about that,” he says. “If I do anything after that I may get a job at Walmart ringing that bell.” Levon ads with a chuckle and a smile.
And even though it was just two-years-ago when Colin added a fourth chair for Levon’s nephew Aaron, he was already a seasoned and well experienced barber himself. (As are three of Aaron’s five siblings.)
But he had known the rest of the Barnes Barber Shop fellas just about his whole life.
“I met these guys when I was just a boy,” Aaron says.
Following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, Aaron began cutting hair full time when he was about 16. He recalls his mother having to drop him off at his uncle Buddy’s barber shop for a short period until he got his driver’s license.
“It took him a good 7 months to teach me,” Arron says. “Then I went on to school to get my license.”
And like the other men, Aaron can’t imagine doing anything else.
“It’s an honest living is what it is,” he adds. “And I really like working with these guys.”
And for these four men who all have barbering in the family, Aaron’s sentiment is a shared one.
“It’s just like one big family,” Colin says of the men he shares his shop and days with.
And with as much as these four have in common, it’s no surprise they all had the same response when asked what they enjoyed the most about their chosen profession. It’s the people.
Unanimously, getting the chance to visit and fellowship with friends and neighbors is their favorite part of the job.
“Over 30 years I’ve created some really good friendships,” Daren says.
Showing no signs of slowing, Colin and the gang will continue cutting hair in the tradition of the southern barber shop, and if and when Colin decides to retire, Daren will continue carrying the torch.
“I hope I can be here as long as he’s been here,” Daren says. “I hope I’m in as good a health and shape when I’m his age.”
It would be hard to imagine there’s a man in Marshall County who hasn’t had his hair cut at Barnes Barber Shop, but if you haven’t and you’re feeling a little shaggy, stop in, step back in time, and get yourself a haircut.