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Barbershop Feature

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by HeinekenMan, May 30, 2007.

  1. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    A little disclaimer: I didn't think much of this story. I didn't see it as unique, and I didn't spend a great deal of time on it. The fella, though, thought it was spectacular and called the editor who oversees all bureaus. I got a pat on the back, and they decided to recycle it for a special publication. Then I got a call with a question from the editor for the special publication, and she also said it was a nice story. But is it a nice story? I mean, I'm sure it's not terrible. But I sort of got the impression that she was less than sincere and the impression that it was passed to special publications more because editors became aware of it than because it has some quintessential value. So, before I add it to my portfolio, I'd love some objective opinions.

    A sign on the wall proclaims that Elvis hasn't left the building, but Eddie Redman soon will.

    The hundreds of memorabilia items, including a cardboard cutout of the King, are being packed and Redman, owner of Redman's Barber Shop, is set to turn the key for the last time on June 2.

    "We'll shut it down at noon and get a bite to eat," Redman, 61, said.

    Why is the man who owns DeBary's oldest business packing up just eight days shy of its 55-year anniversary?

    "That's easy," said Redman. "The lease is up. I'm just finishing up on a 28-year lease."

    That would be the lease that Redman's father, also named Ed, signed after selling the building at 6 S. U.S. 17-92 28 years ago, before the old highway became Charles Richard Beall Boulevard.

    "He wanted to keep the barber shop. The buyer's lawyer, though, didn't want them to share a common wall. So they worked it out with the lease," Redman said.

    The shop has been in its current location since 1966 and the lease was signed just as Redman stepped into the family business in 1980, when his father retired. The elder Redman pitched in to help out during busy periods until his death in 1990.

    As for why Redman has declined to sign a new lease, he said the barber business is facing tough times.

    "The grooming standards just aren't what they once were," said Redman, who remembers spending childhood days at his father's shop, which served as a primary source of news prior to the influx of major media.

    "People used to go to the barber once a week. Now it's once a month," Redman said. "Expenses are also going up."

    While lots of people frequent haircut chains, Redman has a strong base of loyal customers, and many of them have told him they'll miss the ambience of his shop.

    "A lot people really feel an attachment to the shop. They hate it more than me that I have to destroy it," Redman said.

    The most loyal of customers, though, can still have their locks trimmed by Redman, who plans to work Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday mornings at Bill's Barber Styling, 48 N. U.S. 17-92.

    "Bill and I have been friends since we went to barber school together," Redman said. "I'll have a scrapbook there, so people can reminisce. I'm just glad that I'll still have some of my best customers. I get awfully attached to them, and I suppose they get attached to me."

    Al Faron is one of Redman's most loyal customers.

    "He is a good family friend who helped my father create the barber shop," Redman said. "He's in the plumbing business, and if he hadn't moved his business to Orange City, his place would have been DeBary's oldest business."

    Faron said he'll follow Redman to his new barber's chair.

    "As long as Eddie cuts hair, I'll be going to see him," said Faron, 84. "I've known him since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. Not many people call folks ma'am and sir these days, but Eddie does. That's just the way he was brought up."

    Redman plans to spend those other days enjoying semi-retirement from a business that hadn't always been a part of his life plan. After serving in the Navy, Redman worked his way up the corporate ladder with the J.C. Penney Co. Then he was called to the family business.

    "I had a few other things I wanted to do, but I came back to barbering just before dad retired," Redman said. "Now I'm going to do some of those big chores I never had time for. I enjoy life on an everyday basis. I enjoy my work day and my home life."

    Redman, who has three grown sons with wife Valerie, a registered nurse, said the city has changed dramatically since he was a child. In those days, DeBary was a rural community of approximately 300. Today, it that number is closer to 18,000 residents.

    "When I was a kid, we were bused to DeLand High School. We were the country hicks," Redman said. "Of course, everybody knew everybody in those days."

    While times have changed, Redman has no regrets about the way he's spent his career.

    "It's been a great 27 years for me, and it was a great 28 years for my father before that," Redman said.

    Cutline: Photo 1: Barber Eddie Redman cuts Alec Anderson's hair at his DeBary shop last week. Redman is closing the shop his father founded in 1952. Redman plans to cut hair at Bill's Barber Styling, 48 N. U.S. 17-92.

    Photo 2: Eddie Redman's collection of memorabilia honors Elvis Presley, Coca-Cola, Marilyn Monroe, Liberace and other classics. Many were given to Redman as gifts from customers.

    Photo 3: Memorabilia of the 1950s fills the shelves at Eddie Redman's DeBary barber shop. Redman plans to close the 55-yearold family business on June 2.

    Neighbors photos/ PETER BAUER

    Photo 4: The Navy photo of Redman's father hangs on the wall in the shop. The elder Redman retired in 1980 and helped out in the shop until his death in 1990.
  2. LemMan

    LemMan Member

    I really liked the lead, but the story lost some momentum. You mentioned his memorabilia, as did one of the captions, and I really would have liked a colorful description of the inside of the shop, as well as some of the trinkets.

    This is the town's oldest business, right? I'd like more of a voice from the people, aside from the one guy you spoke to. Maybe a son, father and grandfather who have been frequenting his shop since it opened.

    I think it's a good, informative piece, and I have no idea how much space you were alotted. But I think you could have been a little more descriptive.
  3. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I agree. I could have done a lot more with it. That's why I was surprised to get positive feedback.
  4. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    LemMan's thoughts were the first that popped into my head. Take me into the shop. Describe the smell, how hot/cold was it, loud or quiet, etc.

    The lead did pull me in though. Great work on that.
  5. MilanWall

    MilanWall Member

    Just to parrot what others have said. I loved the lead and that first quote was great. It seemed to peter out as the story went on, though, so perhaps some more description would have been better. Maybe it's a little cliche, but I'd have also liked to have learned what the price of a cut was when the shop first opened, compared to now.
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