Terry Kozak poses in his new Front Street barbershop.

Clippers of a lost art

Despite the growing rarity of the trade, one local business owner hopes he’ll make the cut among other similar establishments

Despite the growing rarity of the trade and its decline in recent years, one local business owner hopes he’ll make the cut among other similar establishments that seem to be taking over.

“It’s for sure a dying art,” said Terry Kozak, whose Front Street barbershop just recently opened its doors.

“It’s hard to even get schooling for it. Everything is shifting towards the salon aspect of it.”

Kozak, 31, first tried cutting hair about five years ago while he was at a northern seismic work camp where he said his interest in barbering was sparked.

After a shoulder injury, Kozak was unable to continue with his seasonal labour, so he decided to give the haircutting trade a shot.

“It’s good, I’ve been getting positive feedback from everybody… it’s intimidating for sure taking on a business,” said the Loxx Academy graduate.

Kozak said Nelson had lost a lot of the barbershops in town recently, so he felt the community needed it.

The fading demand for barbershops can be partially attributed to the introduction of the safety razor, which makes its way into most homes, but Kozak said he’s making efforts to keep the doors open to as many people as possible.

“I’m trying to make it more of like a modern barbershop because as you can see I’ve got women and kids here… I’ll do haircuts, but I’m not doing colouring or perming or anything like that,” said Kozak, adding that if there’s demand for that in the future, he’s not closed to the idea of adding that to his services.

Kozak said another reason why barbering sparked his interest was the history behind the trade — barbers also used to perform surgery and dentistry.

“I’d like to see barbershops stay around,” said Kozak.

“Nelson is a heritage town and we need some heritage storefronts for sure. We’ve got plenty of salons here, so a couple good barbershops wouldn’t hurt.”

Kozak said that as a barber he sometimes feels like he takes the role of a psychiatrist.

“I hear weird stories all the time… I don’t mind it though. I like it when people feel comfortable enough to vent to me. I think it’s a sign that I’m doing a good job.”

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