Community News Local barber celebrates 60-year career

Community News Local barber celebrates 60-year career

April 19th, 2017 by Gabrielle Chevalier in Community East Hamilton
Larry Cook stands at his station in the Lee Highway Barber and Style Shop, where he still works each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Larry Cook stands at his station in the...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

Lee Highway Barber and Style Shop is located at 7504 Lee Highway. For more information or to make an appointment, call 899-7193.

Barber Larry Cook remembers the bouffant and pixie cuts of the '50s. He remembers watching hair grow steadily longer and culminate into the "hippier" vibe of the late '60s and '70s — even going so far as to tell a fellow hairstylist to leave the shop if he didn't want to learn the trend.

"I knew it wasn't going anywhere, even back then," Cook reminisced in the Lee Highway Barber and Style Shop he helped build from the ground-up in the 1980s.

Cook recently celebrated 60 years as a barber, and he has no plans to stop.

He no longer owns the Lee Highway shop, but he still works each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, making the commute from the Bradley County land he and his wife purchased years ago.

"It used to take 12 minutes to get here," he said. That was before traffic lights were installed and the city began to slowly spill over from Germantown Road to Belvoir, Spring Creek, East Brainerd and beyond.

Today, he said, the commute from home to the career he loves takes approximately 22-25 minutes, due to the stoplights that have been installed over the years.

"There's six red lights now on my drive. And traffic," Cook said.

But Cook still finds joy in his craft, now cutting hair for the fourth and fifth generations of families he met in his early days of cutting hair at Belvoir Barber Shop when he was 18 years old, though he now sticks to work as a traditional barber.

Cook stopped keeping up with the trends in the '80s, he said, and told his wife and two daughters back then to go to the beauty salon rather than relying on him for the latest styles.

Each time a client's youngest family member comes in for their first haircut, the nostalgia never ceases to amaze him.

"It makes you feel old," Cook laughed. "You realize how far time's gone and how swift it goes. You don't realize it while it's happening, but as you get older, time goes faster. It just does."