Murray hands over the clippers

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2014
Murray Gibson
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
FINAL CUT: Murray Gibson retires on Monday, after more than 50 years as a barber.

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He's cut the hair of thousands of people, but Murray Gibson of Murray's Barber Shop is finally hanging up his clippers after 50 years in the trade.

Mr Gibson, who completed his apprenticeship in December 1963, and took over his father's business in 1983, will retire on Monday.

"When I began as a barber, about 90 per cent of the customers were male, and wanted short-back-and-sides. It's changed a bit since then," he said.

Mr Gibson was pleased with the shop's move to its current site at the corner of Church St and Le Cren St in late 2012.

It had previously been based in Stafford St by the Old Bank.

He said he had been "as busy as ever".

"I think a lot of people want neat and tidy hairstyles," Mr Gibson said.

"It's a great job. You get to talk to people, work with your hands, and customers walk out happy."

Some of his staff have worked with him for more than 20 years.

"I don't know what I've done to inspire such loyalty, but I'm so grateful for it."

He occasionally got tired of his battles with bureaucracy - ranging from changing cigarette displays to a recent stoush with the district council over signs.

"As a business owner, you answer to no one - except the council, Inland Revenue, Department of Labour and the Health Ministry. They have their rules, and you have to follow them, but it's good to push back occasionally," Mr Gibson said.

His son Geoffrey will take over the shop on Monday.

"Geoffrey will do very well. He's a good people person," Mr Gibson said.

"I'm looking forward to my retirement. There is a chance for me to travel, play golf, and even tidy up the shed. I'll pop into the shop when I need to get my hair cut."

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- The Timaru Herald

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