‘Always more than a haircut, always a laugh too’: barber celebrates 40 years in same salon
PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 October 2020 | UPDATED: 07:49 08 October 2020
From Duran Duran to David Beckham, this barber has emulated the styles of the stars since opening his own shop in Norwich in 1980.
Andrew Ryan, who runs Hair For Men in Unthank Road, is still snipping strong at the age of 73 with no plans to put down his scissors and retire. As his official 40th anniversary was back in April, in lockdown when he had to temporarily close, Mr Ryan could not celebrate but now his family are helping him gather memories and anecdotes from loyal customers over the years.
Mr Ryan started out aged just 15 as an apprentice for 13 years, coincidentally in Unthank Road, working for a hair stylist called Leslie Mason. He then went to work at the age of 28 with renowned Norwich hairdresser, the late Chris Chapman, in Prince of Wales Road before returning to open his own shop in 133, Unthank Road, where he is still today.
And although he has many older gentlemen clients, Mr Ryan and his colleague Paul Clements have built up a good customer base of younger students too and consistently achieve five-star reviews and ratings on social media. A review by Concrete, the UEA’s student newspaper, said: “You’ll leave with a cut with more finesse, class and style than you can shake a pair of scissors at: you’ll be leaving one happy chap.”
Mr Ryan said: “I had to shut for three months during lockdown and when I first reopened, for the first three weeks, it was non-stop but I should think my business is down by 50pc. I don’t like it when it’s not busy, I don’t like standing around.”
Mr Ryan, who lives in Cringleford, has always cut men’s hair although admits to occasionally doing his wife Jasme’s hair and has seen hairstyles come and go through the decades. “Everyone wanted to look like footballers and in the 1970s had much longer hair, they’d never want it as short as people have it now,” he said. “It was the pop stars and then David Beckham that all men wanted to look like but now they want it cut into the hair line which you never used to do. It was a short back and sides back then.”
Mr Ryan, who has two children and four grandchildren, said he had cut a famous film star’s hair once – but could not remember his name - and also used to cut the hair of former Norwich City manager, the late John Bond.
Customers paid tribute, with one client Richard saying: “It’s always more than a haircut. Always a laugh, and of course a great haircut.”
Another said: “He’s cut my hair for most of those 40 years, and I’ve stayed with him for two very good reasons: he’s an excellent hairdresser and he’s kind, decent and humorous.”
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