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Friday, February 5, 2021

It's been a great run, Charlie


RETIREMENT TIME The New Trend Barber Shop closed for good January 1st locking the door for the last time at 227 N. Main in Butler. Interestingly, the previous location for the shop was the location of the building on Pine street seen in the reflection. This closed the chapter on 50 years of business in Butler for Charlie Scrogham.


When Charlie Scrogham began cutting mens hair in Butler he had about 10 competitors... a far cry from the number today. But, things were different 5 decades ago.

Charlie, a 1964 Butler High graduate, made the decision to become a barber after a stint with the US Army using the GI bill to fund the 6 months of required schooling, which led to a 1-1/2 year apprenticeship at a shop in Harrisonville with friend Hugh Rapp.

While business was good, it seems all roads eventually lead back home. In 1970, Charlie opened his barber shop in Butler that led to a lifetime of strong ties, friendships and memories. The original location for his shop was, interestingly, just around the corner, on Pine street. He moved to 227 N. Main in 1982.

How much for a haircut in 1970? A buck fifty. At the closing of his New Trend Barber Shop January 1st, it was a modest $8. For most, it was well worth more and tips would often reflect that.

As time progressed, the business kept coming. Often there were more people than places to sit in the small shop.

"Sometimes the guys would come in and just talk. I really miss a lot of those WWII guys especially. They had great stories and all were heard in my shop" he said with a grin. He went on to say there are a lot of other good people he knew well, and unfortunately they are gone now, too.

Being a lifelong resident, he remembers when there were five grocery stores around town including Kroger, A&P, Jennings Market, McGuire’s and Welcher’s. Also, Smith's Shoe Shop, which at one time occupied the space just north of his barber shop. 

And the stores around the square like Penny's and Mattingly's. He spoke of the old railroad depot being sold for scrap at a ridiculously low sum. He clearly remembers the pool hall and the many restaurants that dotted the square, too.

"Bill Hoots was a well known sign painter in town. He had a table that if you flipped the top over, there was a craps board on the other side. His shop was a really popular place" he said with a laugh.

And there was plenty more, as a kid, watching a buddy change light bulbs on the clocks at the courthouse; vivid memories of growing up on Lyons street and attending school in the old Butler high school on Pine street.

One has to think that being so rooted in a community would directly attribute to the success of a business in that community; and for Charlie Scrogham, that is obviously true. Case in point, as the number of barbers in Butler have dwindled over the years, the New Trend Barber Shop remained strong as ever.

Things certainly have changed over the years. While remembering what used to be in Butler, we quickly realized there's not a lot of 'old timers' left in Butler business. As we pondered who is left, he said "Basically, it was down to Don LeNeve and me". And as we peer around Butler today, we see the natural evolution of new business who hopefully someday, will be the ‘old timers’ as well.

All that aside, Charlie's life has become a bit simpler, and rightfully so. At 75 he would have considered retiring sooner but the time wasn't right until now. Now, Charlie's time may well be spent tinkering in the basement, enjoying grandkids, or... whatever he durn well pleases.

After all, he's earned it.

We couldn't resist asking Charlie the ultimate question- Who cuts your hair? With a laugh, he replied "I do". 

Now that's the sign of a true pro. 

Thank you Charlie Scrogham.