Old-fashioned still has its place

The Barber Pole in Grant is a popular spot for haircuts and good conversation.

"I've been in the business sneaking up on 45 years, and 42 and 1/2 of them have been here," The Barber Pole owner Doug Tatum said. As you might imagine, he has plenty of experience cutting hair. He's been perfecting his craft in a building in Grant, that's always been a barbershop. "My understanding is this has been a barbershop in excess of 100 years," Tatum said.

There is a sign above the door that says 'bath holds your turn in chair'. It's a reminder of the history here. "Back in the day, along with getting a haircut and getting a shave, you could take a bath or a shower. It evolved from bath tubs to shower stalls. But that's all gone now," Tatum said. What remains at the barbershop is good fellowship. Grant is Tatum's hometown, and he knows his customers well.

"I've had the opportunity to give first-timers a haircut, and then they turn around and bring their kids in for their first haircut. It's something I've enjoyed a lot," Tatum said. The Barber Pole offers $14 haircuts and great atmosphere. It's the conversations along with the clipping and the trimming that keep people coming back. "We open at six in the morning, and we are open until 5 in the afternoon," Tatum said. "I think the camaraderie and the banter that takes place in the barbershop is just as important as the hair cutting. Certainly we exist because we provide a service, but I think equally important is the banter and the camaraderie that takes place."

Some customers, like a man we talked with who only wanted to be known as "Swede", like to start early. "Most of the time I come in here at 6 in the morning before I go to work," Swede said. "I come in here for 15 to 20 minutes, no stress, and if you could put a sign on the wall that would describe this place it would be "don't let the truth cloud a good story".

Other customers say the business brings back memories of other barbershop experiences. "When I was younger, my grandpa would take me to the barbershop to get a haircut," Grant resident Edward Dunn said. "I'd sit in the corner while he'd have coffee and talk with the barber and everyone else in town. As a kid, it was always a good memory.” Jon Forney is a former school teacher in town, and he, too, enjoys visiting the barbershop. "This is a great place to squelch rumors, start rumors, spread information, disinformation, and if the right people are here, we can have a board meeting,” Forney said.

Doug Tatum's wife works at The Barber Pole, in the back of the building. "I have my own license for cosmetology, and Doug has a barber license,” Sharon Tatum said. "Sometimes the women and I, when I'm working in the back, we are just quiet and get to listen to what they say out here, and we usually have some really good laughs,” Sharon Tatum said.

The Barber Pole appears to draw people from near and far. Some travel from as far as Holyoke, Colorado to get their hair cut. "I like to tell people that what I consider this to be is the original Facebook. I think what we are doing here really has the leg up on what we consider social media today. Because the way we do it is the old-fashioned way. We look each other in the eye, we exchange feelings, this isn't shooting a text back and forth, this is sitting down and interacting with one another,” Doug Tatum said. "Old-fashioned still has it's place."