A cheap haircut or trim can be found at nearly every shopping plaza in Lawrence, but if you’d like a little conversation and a friendly atmosphere during your sit under the scissors, Downtown Barber Shop on Massachusetts Street has kept townies and students clean and neat for 30 years.
While the barbershop opened in 1987, barber Jay Amyx said the trade has been a part of his family's legacy for almost 100 years.
“Downtown Barber Shop was opened in 1987 by Jon Amyx," he said. "He has been cutting hair since 1975 in Lawrence. He’s third generation, and I’m a fourth-generation barber here in town. Grand total, our family's been doing it for 93 years."
Amyx said he wasn’t initially keen on taking up the family trade, but came to love it through interacting with customers from the Lawrence and University communities.
“The fact that I get to deal with people on a day-to-day basis and learn a lot about them and be a part of their lives, it’s nice, I like it," he said. "It’s one of the most enjoyable parts of my job, being a part of so many people's lives. The hairstyles are what they are, but being part of those people and what they do on a day-to-day basis is great.”
Fynn Simister, a junior from Australia studying psychology, said he’s gone to the shop since his first haircut in Lawrence.
“It’s always busy, so you know it must be good and the job that they do has been excellent every time, so I haven’t had to look anywhere else,” he said. “I first came down with a few friends, and I haven’t looked back since.”
While the shop serves community members and beyond, Amyx said students keep the business, and the hairstyles, lively and fresh.
“The kids from the University are great, and we see new faces every year,” he said. “They keep the styles lively, they stay with the trends. It keeps our business flowing.”
Junior Navy ROTC student William McNichols said he’s had his hair cut at the shop since his first week at the University, and doesn’t trust anyone else with it.
“Within the first two days, I came here with the rest of my freshman class," he said. "They started us off with the skin-tight cut, and I’ve been coming here ever since."
For McNichols and other military students, the barber shop is now more than their preferred stop for a trim. After his friend Nicholas Herren died in an accident on K-10 last semester, McNichols said the shop donated money for a scholarship fund in memory of Herren.
“This entire barbershop came together to make donations for a scholarship,” he said. “They know all the military guys real closely, they know us all by name.”
— Edited by Frank Weirich