Rick Anderson has worked in the same location on Pine Bluff’s South Main Street for more than 47 years, but has decided to move at the end of the year.
Anderson, 66, has practiced his craft at Rick’s Barber Shop, 904 Main St., since he was a teenager less than a year out of barber school. He has witnessed the changes in downtown Pine Bluff and styles in male grooming while standing behind a barber’s chair, cutting the hair of three generations in some families.
The shop, which has five chairs, has seen busier days. For years he worked at the fourth chair from the front door in the rented building. He moved to the fifth chair after buying the shop in the 1970s from the late Calvin Burks.
Rick’s will close Dec. 31, but Anderson is moving his clippers and scissors to the Haircutting Room, 708 S. Cherry St., where he has rented a chair and plans to cut back on the number of days he works.
A native of Mountain Pine, he attended a barber school in Little Rock for nine months fresh out of high school, then went to work at a shop in Malvern for all of two weeks. He tried out a shop in Gurdon south of Arkadelphia for six months before heading to Pine Bluff.
“I’ve been here ever since,” he told a visitor to his shop between trading jokes with a customer and the latter’s wife.
The man indicated Anderson had cut his hair for more than 30 years.
Anderson anticipates a number of his customers, including the man at the helm of a bank and the executive director of a charity, will continue to have him cut their hair on a regular basis.
“I’ve had customers whose daddies and grandpas had their hair cut here,” he said.
One customer, Wesley W. Dixon, said Anderson has cut his hair for 15 to 20 years.
For years the shop depended on walk-in traffic, but as the dynamics of the downtown area changed, Anderson changed 20 years ago to cutting hair by appointment, but accepts walk-ins if he is not busy.
The downtown area “changed drastically” beginning in the early 1970s, Anderson said, with a number of customers moving from Pine Bluff.
Anderson uses shears and clippers to cut hair, noting he gave up offering shaves “years ago.” Most men preferred to shave themselves with “canned lather,” he explained.
“I may be moving, but my phone number will remain the same,” he said.
He said he will begin drawing Social Security in January and will slow down some, cutting back from working Monday through Friday to Monday through Thursday.
“It will be different, but I’ll adjust.”