Barber shop's move short and sweet

SOPHIE SPEER
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2013
Courtenay Barbers
DIEGO OPATOWSKI/Fairfax NZ

CUTTING EDGE: Lance Barnard, left, and Michael Petrie, who run the Courtenay Barbers, which has been in business for more than a century.

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It's been around since 1897 and for many years didn't even have an official name.

Courtenay Barbers, as it was recently named by managers Lance Barnard and Michael Petrie, is tucked away behind Paddys Lotto and Postshop in Courtenay Place.

It began life as a barbershop, tobacconist and bookies, and has operated by word of mouth ever since.

The business has temporarily relocated to The Exchange Atrium between Blair and Allen streets, while its long-term home is earthquake-strengthened.

It the meantime, the barbershop is taking up the central area of the atrium, proving a novel spot for a quick trim, Mr Barnard says.

Its home is being modernised, while retaining the atmosphere of a barbershop, and with more street presence, he says.

In the shop's early days, when it doubled as a bookies, the police raided it so many times bars were installed over the windows, Mr Barnard says.

After a four-year apprenticeship, he started working at the barbers about 36 years ago, when cut-throat shaves were popular.

He continued to cut hair through the 1970s, when long hair for men was the norm and sent some barbers into bankruptcy because of lack of demand.

The rise of male grooming in recent years has also been difficult for barbershops, with men heading to salons for expensive cuts. Home clippers have also cost them business.

And although the customer base is getting older, Mr Petrie says demand for barbers is on the rise. Men can get a good haircut from a barber at about a quarter of the price and time, he says.

Mr Petrie trained as a woman's hair stylist, but has been working at the barbers for 11 years.

''I love it, I could spend 45 minutes cutting a woman's hair or spend 15 minutes cutting a guy's hair. It's more fun ... minimal fuss and good service.''

Contact Sophie Speer
Culture and Capital Day reporter
Email: sophie.speer@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @sophie_speer

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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