Short hair always in at Pete's Barber Shop

August 12, 1997


Staff Writer

BOONSBORO - What separates the men from the boys at Pete's Barber Shop?

A lollipop.

You're considered "grown" when you leave the shop without one, said barber Pete Buchanan, who gives the candy "up until they get shaved around the ears."

For 27 years, Buchanan, 50, has made a living in Boonsboro relying on healthy hair follicles and a healthy relationship with townsfolk.


"We still deal with first names instead of numbers. We carry on. We cut up. We pick on each other," he said

This summer, short hair is in, he said.

"The styles now are like they were in the '50s - not that I cut in the '50s," he said with a chuckle. "They're following the sports styles - short hair, flat tops, fades. It's the shortest I've seen hair in 31 years of cutting."

When he first opened his shop in 1970, how did men want their hair cut?

"They didn't. Long hair had started. They wanted a shorter version of Farrah Fawcett's - part it in the middle and feather it to the sides," he said. "Then it got real long, and they didn't need a barber at all."

Buchanan said long hair styles shut down many barber shops in the county by the early '80s, and even he thought about another career.

"Back then, I was a different person. I wasn't a Christian. I rode a motorcycle - it was a whole different atmosphere," he said. "When I was born again, the manifest presence of God in my life made the biggest difference. I found other values."

Buchanan has attended Agap Harvester Church in Williamsport since the early 1980s.

"Seems like each year the Lord makes it better. We're depending on God."

Pete Buchanan and his wife, Judy, live on Lockwood Road in Williamsport. Their son, Randy, 17, is an entering freshman at West Virginia University.

Pete Buchanan's father, the late Buck Buchanan, managed West End Barber Shop at 16 Nottingham Road in Hagerstown for about 45 years. Now it's managed by Donnie Buchanan, Pete Buchanan's uncle, who has been in the business for nearly 36 years.

Pete Buchanan said he learned cutting techniques at a barber school in Baltimore.

"Then my father had to retrain me because he said it took me an hour," Pete Buchanan said. "I cut in my dad's shop a couple of years. When I opened my first shop, I learned a lot on my own."

The haircut price at 6 N. Main St. in October 1970 was $1.50.

"It was a little tiny room. You stepped out of the barber chair right into the wall - but it was nice," he said.

In 1990, it reopened at 29 N. Main St., with a 10-chair waiting area facing two cutting and styling chairs. Buchanan is assisted by barbers Rod Toms and Dick Locke. Haircuts are $5.50.

On Saturdays, Buchanan rises at 4:30 a.m. to be at work by 6 a.m.

"We're really jammed. Customers will sweep the floor. The people here are just awesome and fun to be around. The people are what's special about Boonsboro."

It takes skill and patience to cut children's hair, especially if they're "hollerin' and screamin' and squirmin'," he said. "It's fun and challenging - to see if you can satisfy the hard ones."

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