'You just can't find good barbers anymore'

'You just can't find good barbers anymore' »Play Video
Jeff the Barber gets to work on a customer at South Eugene Barbers. He has been trying to find a second barber for 10 months.

EUGENE, Ore. - Jeff the Barber has a problem: He hasn't been able to fill an open barber position at South Eugene Barbers shop for 10 months.

Jeff told KVAL News he has had applicants for the position, but no one has had all the necessary skills needed to perform the job.

Jeff said graduating cosmetology students and experienced stylists that have applied for the open position may have hair cutting skills, but they lack the knowledge or experience to use a straight razor - a necessary skill in a barbershop.

"You're only as good as your tools," said Jeff at his shop on Friday, "and you have to know how to use them."

In Oregon, to obtain a barber's license takes 1,100 hours of supervised training or approximately 9 months of education at any number of public and private institutions.

Cosmetology schools may have courses in barbering in addition to styling and coloring.

"You just can't find good barbers anymore," said Al, a customer getting a quick cut at the shop on Friday.

Jeff said he can only speculate as to why he has had so much trouble filling the open barber position, but he said he guesses it has to do with a shift in the cosmetology industry towards becoming a stylist rather than a barber.

It might also be a lack of barber-specific colleges in the state - and a growing number of master barbers reaching retirement age.

"If you asked me why I became a barber, I wouldn't tell you it was because I was expecting to take giant swan dives into cash," said Jeff.

A regular hair cut at South Eugene Barbers is $15. Right next door to Jeff's shop is a salon, where haircuts for men start at $27.