Stillwater News Press

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July 21, 2012

Stillwater barber counting down to his final snips

STILLWATER, Okla. — It will be a day of mixed emotions when a Stillwater barber closes his shop for the last time.

Jim Coleman has cut hair for more than 45 years. He will retire this month, closing at the end of the business day July 27.

Coleman said it’s been hard for him to give up the trade.

“This has hurt me,” Coleman said. “I just love my occupation, but it was time to move on.”

One of his customers, Ted Sebring, has known Coleman for more than 40 years.

“He’s probably the best barber in town,” Sebring said.

He comes to the barbershop five days a week and said he enjoys the rapport.

“Jimmy’s had a great rapport with everyone, everybody I’ve talked to,” Sebring said. “I’ve never heard a complaint.”

Sebring jokes with Coleman but said it’s impossible to see someone nearly every day and not develop a relationship.

“It’s going to be a change for me to have someone else do it and my wife wants me to have it done every day, so it’s going to be tough to take his place,” Sebring said.

However, he’s glad that his friend will have the chance to retire.

“We’re going to miss a great barber, a great friend, because when people retire, we split ways and a lot of times, I’m still working, and we don’t get together like we should, but I hope to see him on the circle,” Sebring said.

Coleman, a Stroud native, began cutting hair in Stillwater after his graduation from Oklahoma Barber College in Oklahoma City. He began the trade at a barbershop owned by Frank Russell at Knoblock and Third Avenue. He also spent time working with Floyd Black at the Rioon Main Street and later at Rex VII. After working with Black, he partnered with Jim Redding at T&Me.

Going into business for himself, Coleman obtained his current business, the Executive Style Shop, in 1986.

His wife, Patsy, said that over the past 26 years, Coleman has continued to build a loyal clientele.

“He loves people,” she said. “He’s a good interacter with people. He has a lot of loyal friends and customers and that’s going to be the hardest thing for him, is leaving his friends. I think it’s always been a dream that he had, even back when he was a small boy, and he has always loved it.”

While he had plans from the beginning to acquire his own barbershop, the idea of cutting hair began at an early age.

“I had an uncle that worked in Stroud (as a barber) and when I was probably 6 or 7, I’d go in Saturday, shine shoes some and just (decided) what I wanted to be,” Coleman said.

Coleman used to do women and men’s hair, but has switched exclusively to cutting men’s hair for the past 25 years, his wife said.

However, she did allow her husband to cut her hair once.

“Men cut women’s hair different than women do, so we parted ways on that,” she said laughing.

Across the barbershop, Coleman joked, “Thank goodness.”

The father of two and a die-hard Oklahoma State Cowboys and New York Yankees fan said it makes him feel great to have such loyal customers.

With his retirement, Coleman and his wife will be able to spend more time together visiting his daughters in Arizona and taking trips to Branson, Mo., they said. It will also give Coleman time for another passion — fishing.

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