By MARY ANN HOLLEY
Marty Buchheit, UFCW Local 655’s longest existing member and, at 57 years in business, quite possibly the longest working barber in the metro area, says he’s slowing down – and he hates it.
He made it through the 1960s when long hair for men was in fashion. He survived when men started frequenting salons instead of barbers. He even endured through the riots following the police involved shooting death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown, but business has been slow to come back.
Now, Buchheit is hoping for union support to get him through a time that seems insurmountable to some.
“People ask me why I don’t retire,” Buchheit said. “I am retired. Hey, I work three days a week and enjoy what I’m doing.”
IN THE HEART OF FERGUSON
Buchheit’s shop, Teakwood Barber, is in the heart of Ferguson, inside the city’s renovated Savoy Theater. Some of his long-time customers have been with him since the 1950s. But, as times have changed, his customers have gone.
Despite the unrest, Buchheit says he wants to keep cutting hair as long as he can.
“I don’t know how much longer I can hold out,” he said.
“Older people, my clientele, are already up in years, and they just aren’t coming to Ferguson anymore. Every shopkeeper on the street is in the same boat. People aren’t milling around in daytime like they used to, and some are staying away from Ferguson completely.”
Buchheit remembers well the night of Nov. 24, just before Thanksgiving – the night after a St. Louis County grand jury returned “no true bill,” choosing not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Brown’s death. protesters and rioters took to the streets. Some marched and chanted, others smashed windows and started fires.
Although there was no damage to Buchheit’s shop, he heard reports that there were attempted break-ins. Rioters apparently couldn’t get past the plywood nailed across the entrance to the building.
“The landlord boarded up,” Buchheit said. “Although they were trying to get into the barber shop door, I was told that they apparently heard glass break across the street so they headed there.”
PROUD UNION BARBER
Buchheit is proud to be a union barber – one of only six represented by UFCW Local 655. He likes to flaunt his union affiliation and includes it in his advertising.
“I had a gentleman recently who walked in and said he was looking for a union barber,” Buchheit said. “His son told him he saw my ‘Union Barber’ ad in the local paper. I’m glad it’s working. I’m proud to be union and plan on using that title for a long time.”
NEED A TRIM?
Buchheit’s Teakwood Barber is located at 117 South Florissant Road, and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and by appointment. Men’s haircuts are $14. To make an appointment call 314-521-9199.
Reflecting on the recent unrest, Buchheit said, “I used to work until 5:30 p.m., but before Daylight Savings Time I was told that I better get out of here before dark. It’s really a shame. It’s always been nice on South Florissant Road. We’ve got a couple of new buildings and others that are rehabbed. It’s been very nice until these riots started.”
Please patronize these UFCW Local 655 represented barber shops
• Bridgeton Plaza Barber Shop, 12218 McKelvey Suite A, Maryland Heights
• Eureka Barber Shop, 114 N Central Ave., Eureka
• Franview Barber Shop, 2922 Telegraph, St. Louis
• Harbaugh’s Barber Shop, 4722 Virginia, St. Louis
• Second District Hair Shop, 5759 Chippewa, St. Louis
• Southside Barber Shop LLC, 5419 Chippewa, St. Louis
• Teakwood Barber, 117 South Florissant, Ferguson
• Wayne’s Barber Shop, 3010 North Hwy. 94, St. Charles