Two barbers work hard to keep customers hair short
Not too many people stick with a business for 52 years, but Harold Hall has been operating his shop for that amount of time and continues to shorn the heads of men in Molalla and has for more years than many of them have been alive. He's worked with some families for four or five generations.
In fact, Hall told the Pioneer that he's owned his business longer than anyone else in Molalla.
"There are some businesses that have been here longer, but I'm the only one who's owned my own business that long," said Hall, whose shop is right at the corner of Main Street and Molalla Avenue.
Those aren't the only attention-grabbing facts that comes out of Hall's. He has a partner that came to work with him nearly eight years ago. Mel actually went to barber school with Hall. They were in the same class and both graduated together in June of 1962. That school was called Moler and was in Portland, but Hall says it's been closed for many years.
The two men seem just as hardy as when they were young despite the fact that they have lived long lives. Hall is 80 and Mel is 83.
Those school days saw Hall working from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and then driving to his sister and brother-in-law's home in Damascus to sleep. He was back at Barber School in the morning. He married his wife Judy in May 1962 and they rented a small home in Milwaukie and later became parents of a son and daughter. She has worked as an artist and won a number of awards.
Once out of Barber School, he started working in Prineville and also spent two and a half years working in Woodburn and Lebanon before establishing Hall's in Molalla in 1967.
He enjoys working with Mel because they tease each other and get along great. He noted that many of his customers "come in and get in the chair and get the same haircut they've had for the last 30 to 40 years." In fact, one customer came in with very short hair and Hall took most of it off, leaving the guy nearly bald.
"My wife likes my hair like this," said Dan Bryant from Molalla. It turns out that when he had cancer and after his hair fell out and grew back, Hall gave him his first haircut free. Bryant has been going to Hall's Molalla shop since 1972.
On one hand, Hall's customers come from all over the area: Estacada, Silverton, Canby, Woodburn, Colton and, of course, Molalla.
"We have a five-star rating," he bragged.
"But now this area's growing so fast, new customers come in on a daily basis. Sometimes we get two or three a day," Hall said.
About the only thing he doesn't like about his barber shop is that among all the people he's gotten to know, there are times, especially now, when someone passes away or someone in that family passes. That's when he loses the comfortable feeling he's gotten over the years.
"I lost a 93-year old customer about three weeks ago," he told the Pioneer.
One thing he says he loves is cutting hair for generations of customers. He has photos of kids that come in with their grandfather, father, uncle, grandmother and aunts. He says there's another family that has more pictures of him cutting the child's hair in the child's baby book than his own father.
And one kid, called Steven Smith, first started coming as a toddler in 1984. He would only allow Hall to cut his hair. He wouldn't sit for anyone else. Another child who Hall read to because both seats were taken, would ask Hall to read to him before he allowed his hair cut.
Hall was able to find land about five miles from his shop. He has about 100 acres that he plants and has fun with. He said he loves "playing in the fields and in his tractor. That's where I have fun," he said. His days working have dwindled down from five to four and he's considering three right now.
His children are grown and have kids of their own. They were excited to move away, he said, but for some reason they've both moved back. His son lives about a quarter of a mile away in the woods. And his daughter is about one-half mile away with four children that too have grown up.
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