St. Anthony’s only barber hangs up the clippers

Adam Randell
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With skilled hands the scissors clip away the unwanted hair of a customer resting easy in the big barber’s chair.

VOCM’s Back Talk is low in the background, and day’s events pass by the tiny building’s window.

Barber Don Loder keeps the conversation light, discussing politics, the weather and the fishery, even a few laughs get shared in between.

It’s a comfortable atmosphere that he’s perfected over his years in business, but now it’s no more.

Two weeks shy of 48 year’s in business, Loder closed up shop on June 26.

Pushing 70, he has no regrets about the decision.

“I’ve enjoyed my work, I’ve made a living at it, but there comes a time for everything, and the time has come for me to retire,” he said. “So I set the date and Friday is the last day.”

Looking back, Loder decided to open after realizing the need.

“There was no barber in the general area at the time, and I figured it was a pretty good trade to get into so I went to Corner Brook for my training,” he said.

He returned to open up his shop on July 15, 1966.

Looking out the shop window, Loder said he got to see a lot of development pass by his window, nothing that the roads use to be gravel and the Woodward Motors parking lot use to graze cattle.

He remembers business being a little slow at first because people weren’t use to going to a barbershop for a haircut.

“They’d go to a neighbour’s or friends to have their haircut.”

Loder said he’s heard it all in his barbershop, but quips those stories won’t be retold because of barber-customer confidentiality.

“But the youngest haircut I done was for a six-month-old and the oldest haircut for a 100-year-old man,” he said. “Over the years I’ve cut the hair of grandfathers, fathers, sons and grandsons.”

And he enjoys having the kids come into his shop. he’s been known to treat them to a stick of gum or two.

“It’s just something I started doing, I couldn’t tell you how much of it I gave away…quite a few cartons in my day,” he said.

When it comes to haircuts, he estimates it to be in the hundreds of thousands.

Loder says he has no specific plans now that he’s retired, but quips, “it won’t be cutting hair.” He just plans to enjoy his time off.

But he will miss the daily interaction with his customers, and the customers will certainly miss him.

Guy Bussey of St. Lunaire-Griquet has been a customer at Don’s Barber Shop since day one.

“Don’s a very friendly person and he provide a great service,” Bussey said. “There’s nothing but good to say about Don.”

Now that Loder has closed shop, Bussey figures, “I’m going to have to let my hair grow out into a ponytail.”

 

Final tally

Loder has been collecting pins for the last 28 years and kept the massive collection on display at his shop. He started collecting the pins himself, but notes that many of his customers have added to the collection. The final tally is 3,442 pins.

Organizations: Barber Shop

Geographic location: St. Anthony, Corner Brook

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  • Everton McLean
    July 03, 2014 - 12:13

    Sad to see Don retire. I remember haircuts there as a small boy with my grandfather. We lived in the straits, but when my hari stared getting long, Pop would often say "time to go to Don Loder's"