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Barber shop abuzz with tradition

  • Story Highlights
  • Hair clippers buzzing, hair dryers blowing at old-fashioned barber shop
  • Shop has been passed down through the generations
  • Mustang Barbers is place to go to hear latest joke, sports opinion
  • "Once you know the basics, you go from there," barber says
By Joel De La Rosa
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DALLAS, Texas (CNN) -- The minute you walk into Mustang Barbers you immediately smell the scent of aftershave lotion and your grandfather's cologne.

The shop also offers shoe shines and shaves to its customers, some of whom have been coming for years.

Mustang Barbers in Dallas, Texas, is usually buzzing with hair-cutting activity.

The sounds of hair clippers buzzing and hair dryers blowing fill this hardwood-floor barber shop. Mustang Barbers is an old-fashioned barber shop.

Men come from all walks of life to get their haircuts from one of Mustang's 10 barbers. While some men wait their turn in the barber's chair, they get a shoeshine and read the morning newspaper.

The old saying "the more things change, the more things stay the same" couldn't be more true at Mustang Barbers.

The shop has been around this Dallas neighborhood for 40 years. Its owner, Phil McAllister, has been cutting hair for more than 35 years. He comes from a family of barbers.

His father, A.E. McAllister, was a barber for 61 years and worked at Mustang Barbers into his 90s. Phil's son, Wes McAllister, 28, also works there.

"Once my wife lets me retire," says Phil McAllister, "my son will take over the business."

Barbering has been around for centuries, and this old profession doesn't seem be going away anytime soon.

The barbers at Mustang Barbers really enjoy cutting hair and making small talk with their customers. Straight-razor shaves also are available.

"My clients are my friends," say McAllister. Fathers bring their sons, and sons come with their grandfathers. This American career has been passed from generation to generation.

"I've cut grandfather's hair, his son's hair and his grandson's hair," says barber Carolyn Wilson, who has been cutting hair for 17 years.

"Some ladies want to just cut women's hair, but I just want to cut men's hair," says Wilson. "I just like to make them feel good about themselves." Video Watch the comings and goings at the shop »

Todd Blalock, 36, has only been cutting for five years. "I'm gonna do this forever," he says.

Blalock was a musician and a Mustang Barbers customer for years. Then he decided to change careers and become a barber. He is glad to see young people decide to become barbers. "There's opportunity for youth to revitalize barbering, to show it's strong and still here."

Barbering is not for everyone.

"You have to be thick-skinned," says McAllister. "There's lots of teasing."

If want to know the latest talk of the town, a dirty joke or just the hottest sports opinion, this barber shop is the place to visit. "We pretty much rake [each other] over the coals all day long," says Blalock.

Mustang Barbers has stayed in business by keeping it simple for 40 years. "The techniques are all the same," McAllister explains. "Once you know the basics, you go from there."

In a fast-paced world of ever-changing technology, Blalock is glad that places like Mustang Barbers are still around.

"Everything in the world changes so quickly, there's something about a place that has stayed the same," he says.


Wilson agrees.

"Barbering will never go away," she says. "It's been around forever and always will be."

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