Bio: Lavey, Dave (Barber - 1974)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Lavey, Geldernick, Schwarze, Spry, Rogstad

----Source: Tribune Record Gleaner (Loyal, Clark Co., WI) 10/17/1974

Lavey, Dave (Granton Barber - 1974)

Mingling with Mary (By Mary Woods)

Enjoying a conversation while he gets a haircut from Dave Lavey is Bob Geldernick of Chili.

There are a lot of things that a person owning his own business can do for himself. A plumber can do his own plumbing, an electrician can wire his own home, and a garage owner can fix his own car. But for every profession there is an exception to the rule, and when it comes to Dave Lavey of Granton, owner and operator of Lavey’s Barbershop, he had to go somewhere else to get his hair cut.

Serving the small community of Granton where he was born and raised, for almost 18 years, Lavey began his career as a barber, following his graduation from Loyal High, at the technical School in Eau Claire. He states that one of the main reasons for him choosing such a profession was the simple fact that he enjoyed being his own boss, and decided that barbering would be a rewarding profession.

Explaining the schooling that is needed to become a full-fledged barber, Lavey states that after 11 months or 1,248 hours of schooling, a student becomes an apprentice for two and a half years, previously three years. After being indentured for the designated period, the student than takes a state board, written and practical tests for his journeyman’s licenses. Although he may not employ himself, he is allowed to go from different employers during the one year journeyman period and then take another test, known as the masters. Upon passing the test, he may, after two months, take the written shop manager’s test, and upon completion, and passing, become a full-fledged barber. Lavey points out that after such tests are completed, and all standards are met, the only way for the license to be taken away is through the action of a jury and court. Asked as to who he practiced on while at the barbering school, Lavey explained that the school customers were those who could not afford to pay the price of a hair-cut, and were glad to get a cut … even if it wasn’t the best.

Upon receiving his licenses, Lavey began barbering in Waterford for six months, moved to Neillsville for four years, and worked at the Co-op Shopping Center in Eau Claire for a year. Reflecting on why he came to Granton in 1956, Lavey stated that he was approached by several of his friends who suggested that he take of over the barbershop in Granton which was destined to close because of the barber’s age. Thinking over the suggestion, but finding out that the old barbershop would have to be torn down due to the railroad tracks, Lavey was approached by Durward Schwarze and Lloyd Spry, both employees of the Granton Bank, who stated that they would be glad to lend him the money to build a new shop, and so he did, at an estimated cost of $3,000.

As with everything, barbering has witnessed great changes. Lavey states that in Eau Claire while he was attending school, haircuts were priced at $1.25, and today the price is up to $2.50 for adults and $2 for children. The old custom of getting a shave in the barbershop is also fading out. Although Lavey stated he does a few shaves now and then, and when he came to Granton, the price was $1. “In the late 40’s, it was the crew cut,” remarks Lavey. “It perhaps lasted as long as it did due to the fact of school athletics, and coaches instructing the kids how to wear their hair for participating in sports, but since then times changed and so did the rights of teachers … they no longer have any say.” Lavey continued to add, “that after the crewcut went out, the long hair came in. It seemed that movers from the city to the small communities brought the long hair, along with the side burns, and when the Beatles became the hit singers … it really became the hair style.”

Questioning Lavey on the effect of long hair on the barbering business, he states, “I guess I was lucky, and had a lot of women customers, and learning to cut their hair I am able to stay in business, along with my male customers. I do most of my hair cutting by appointment, and when a woman comes in, and is satisfied with it, she seems to spread the word to other women, and in no time, it seems that I have the entire family for a customer rather than just the males. Perhaps, it was the barber who refuses to learn how to cut women’s hair or how to cut and style the longer hair on the boys who went out of business,” he concluded.

Another point that was noted by Lavey over the long hair, was that many times a strong discussion has taken place between the kid getting his hair cut, and the parents. The kid wanted to let his hair grow, and the parents wanted it short, and according to Lavey, “I was the middle man, but in barbering school I was told to listen to the person in the chair and not the bystander.”

In the same line, Lavey notes that “today the trend has gone to a more neat-looking haircut and styling has become very important … to both men and women. Most of the hair is cut just below the ear, and boys are very conscious about having their hair have that puffy look.” He also noted that many boys come in before they have their senior picture taken, and that Easter is the busiest time for the barber, perhaps due to it being such a church oriented occasion.

It would be improper to take a look at a barber without mentioning the many mothers who bring their child in for his first haircut. Lavey commented, with a smile, “Mothers watch with contentment, and yet thought of recollection as those first scissor snips take away those precious curls that took so long to grow. They always ask for an envelope, and pick up those curls that will someday become a part of their child’s baby book.”

Another phase of barbering that was not known when Lavey began his barbering was hair pieces for men. He notes that many dollars are spent by men who “want that younger look” but not too much with hair pieces is done at his shop. Although he tried one on at a workshop, it seems to be the opinion at the Lavey house that, “Dad is great just the way he is.”

Turning away from barbering and talking on the subject of Granton, Lavey states that the reason he remains in the small, but proud, community is the fact that he enjoys knowing the faces on the street, being able to converse with his consumers, and in return having his customers for friends. In simple terms, he states, “Granton is my kind of town and has my kind of people.” Besides his business he has served all offices of the Granton Rotary for two terms, is a lector at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Chili, on the park committee which has been responsible for getting the outstanding Granton Park constructed, and finds time to enjoy hobbies such as trapping, ice fishing, hunting, and any sport. He is also a member of a Barbershop Quartet which is being re-organized with his same friends of many years. Lavey and his wife, Bev, have four children, Sherry (Mrs. Dennis Rogstad of Beaver Dam), Rochelle, who works as a nursing assistant at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Marshfield, and Jeff and Mark, both students at the Granton High School.

Barbering is like everything in this world, it changes as time goes on, with styles, prices, and even barbershops changing. But when one takes a look at Lavey’s Barbershop in Granton, they will find that the shop hasn’t changed too much … the same red, white, and blue barber sign is found on the outside of the shop, the customer finds the same arrangement of seating chairs, and something that no one would want to change remains the same … the satisfying haircut, the conversations, and most of all, the friendliness of the owner continues to make Dave Lavey’s Barbershop a place to go where you are always welcomed ….even if you don’t get a haircut.



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