Master Barber out of Roanoke reaches his semi-retirement after 59 years

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Edwin Brown, known by his customers as “Ed,” has been cutting people’s hair in Roanoke since 1961.

Ed first moved to the Roanoke area in 1960 and in that year, he went to The Roanoke Barber School that was located on 1st Street near Market Square in downtown Roanoke.

Ed worked at a barbershop called Bobby’s — run by “Mr. Bobby,” as Ed calls him — at one of the two barbershop locations for 12 years. Then in 1973, Ed moved to the Hollins location, where he’s still cutting hair today.

“Mr. Bobby, he opened it up in 1962, I think. As far as my recollection, I went to work for him in 1961 at another shop up the road it was called ‘Bobby’s.’ I worked up there with him and his brother for 12 years before they bought the building out and tore it down. We come down here in 1973, so I’ve been here what… 47 years here.”

Edwin “Ed” Brown – Master Barber – Hollins Barber Shop

Recently, Ed has decided to semi-retire and leave the managing operations of Hollins Barber Shop to new management. However, Ed says he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

“I’m not the type of person to sit on the porch and watch life go by. I [have] got to be doing something. I’ll be here the same as always. I’m just 78, I’ve got a ways to go yet.”

Edwin “Ed” Brown – Master Barber – Hollins Barber Shop

Ed says that during the late 1960s, many barbershops didn’t survive the cultural change during that time.

“Back when the Vietnam war was going strong, all the kids wanted long hair. It really hurt the barber business. A lot of them didn’t stay in the business they got out of it and it’s come back since then.”

Edwin “Ed” Brown – Master Barber – Hollins Barber Shop

Ed told WFXR News that in his 59 years of cutting people’s hair, he’s seen four generations of a family sit in his barber’s chair.

“Some of them I’ve done they’ve got four-generations, of course, their grand-dads are not still alive, but it’s unusual to be around that long.”

Edwin “Ed” Brown – Master Barber – Hollins Barber Shop

Many of the Hollins Barber Shop customers like having a barber who knows exactly what they want.

“You got to find someone that you trust to, right? So, you don’t go home with a jacked-up haircut. There are good people here that Ed puts around him, but I wait for Ed.”

Rick St. Pierre – Customer – Hollins Barber Shop

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, one thing many at Hollins Barbershop miss is everyone sitting inside sharing stories.

“That’s the part we hate right now that you have to have everybody to come outside, sign up instead of being able to come in, sit down and get the conversations going.”

Edwin “Ed” Brown – Master Barber – Hollins Barber Shop

Hollins Barber Shop does still take walk-ins, which means you can fill out a waiting list that’s located out front and wait for your turn. You can also schedule your appointment if you’re on a tight schedule.

You can check out out the Hollins Barber Shop on Facebook or call (540) 366-9574 to make an appointment.

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