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Still in style

There’s a little bit of old-fashioned in the air at the Sportmen’s Barber Shop in Marshall

April 30, 2011
By Karin Elton , Marshall Independent

Once there were 12 barbers in Marshall. Currently there are three - two of whom work at the Sportmen's Barber Shop in Marshall.

"Now there is Drew (Laleman) and me and Harold Halverson," said owner Roger Bell.

Buck Norton started the shop on Fourth Street in Marshall in 1937 and ran it until 1942.

Article Photos

Photo by Karin Elton

Sportmen’s Barber Shop in Marshall owner Roger Bell cuts Ryan Quist’s hair. His brother Todd and nephew Austin from Marshall also get their hair cut at the shop along with dad Gary of Marshall. “The edging is hardest, then the sides and the top is easiest,” said Bell.

"When I was a kid I cleaned his barbershop down in Luverne," he said.

Bell noticed his fellow employees received 50 to 75 cents an hour, but the barbers got "a buck for hair cuts" so he thought that was "good money" and enrolled in barber school at Lee's Barber School in St. Paul in 1962.

"Now it's called the Minnesota Barber School," he said. "There are only three in the state of Minnesota."

Bell said he studied hair cuts, shave, shampoo and facial back then.

"Now they've added perms and rollers (to the curriculum)," he said.

His employee, Drew Laleman, started at the shop in August of 2005 after graduating from Moler Barber College in Fargo, N.D.

"You learn a lot more once you get in with a place like this," Laleman said.

H.O. Hickson bought the business from Buck Norton in 1942 and sold it to Bell in 1970.

"I barbered with him from 1965 to '70," he said.

Bell said the Beatles had a big impact on men's hair in the 1960s.

"We were doing flat tops but then the Beatles became popular with their long hair," he said. "Parents wanted their sons' hair short and there would be quite an argument."

Bell said parents would send Marshall principal Merril Olson money to make sure the kids would get their hair cut the desired length.

"If not, he would say 'not short enough,'" Bell said.

"A lot of barbers couldn't adjust to the longer hair cut and a lot of them quit," he said.

Bell charges only $10 for a hair cut.

"I haven't raised prices in 10 years," he said. "I'm about due for another raise, but I don't want to mess with dollar bills."

Many of the shop's customers have been doing business at the barber shop for years. Dan Holmberg of Vesta has been a customer since 1965, he said.

"I come in every three weeks or monthly," he said.

Steve Versluys of Marshall is also longtime customer.

"I started coming here back when Hal (Hickson) had it," Versluys said. "It's a good ol' place. A place to catch up on the outdoor scene and general interesting conversation."

A rap artist who calls himself D.K. is a regular at the shop as well.

"It's my favorite shop," he said. "You're always welcome. Drew and Mr. Roger are great."

D.K. said his daughters love to come to the shop because they get gumballs.

The customers are all walk-ins except for "Drew will take appointments on Mondays," Bell said.

Bell said he cuts hair wherever his customers are.

"I've gone to the Ivanhoe and Marshall nursing homes, Cottonwood, Balaton. There's a man in Garvin that's confined to his home," he said.

Bell only works in the afternoons now.

"I've cut back," he said.

Bell wants more time to hunt and fish in Alaska and Canada. He and his wife also likes to visit their son in Grand Rapids.



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