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September 29, 2023

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Barbershop serves historic purpose to downtown

As he sat in the chair he has used to cut customer’s hair for 40 years, looking out the front window onto Wooster St., Stu Sockrider remembered the early days of the shop.

Sockrider is sitting inside Service Barbershop, a shop started by his grandfather near Findlay, Ohio and moved to Bowling Green by his father, Dallas Sockrider, in 1949. His father lived directly behind the shop and bought a small building and property where the current shop resides. However, Dallas added on to the building covering the grass which previously rested on the right side of the shop.

“While it was under construction, we still had it open to customers,” Sockrider said. “I can remember a sheet hanging from the ceiling that divided the two sections.”

While Sockrider’s father and four other men cut hair on the first floor of the building, his mother and a few other beauticians worked a beauty shop upstairs.

Sockrider said when he was younger, his father wanted him and his brother to learn how to cut hair, just in case they needed something to fall back on later in life.

“The basic rule in my dad’s house was that my brother and I needed to go to barber school to learn the trade,” Sockrider said. “After that if we wanted to go to college we could.”

Sockrider’s brother went on to attend college at the University while his father was getting ready to retire. He officially took control of the barbershop in 1974 and sold it in 1997. He said it was time to sell the business because him and his wife had much more on their plate.

“It was just time to sell the shop,” Sockrider said. “My wife and I had other businesses and it was getting to be too much and we just decided to sell it.”

Sockrider came back to work at the shop in 2006 as part time and has remained a barber ever since.

Barbara Ruland, executive director of downtown Bowling Green, said it’s great for the town to have such an old place that is still in business.

“Continuity is important,” Ruland said. “People who graduated 30 years ago still go there and it’s nice to have history in Bowling Green that’s still going.”

Freshman Bill Potter has been getting his hair cut at the shop for several years and said it’s resides in a convenient location for him.

“I’m only 10 minutes away from here,” Potter said. “I like coming here because it’s pretty close to where I live.”

Sockrider said he came back to cut hair after selling the shop because it’s what he grew up doing and hopes to keep cutting hair in the same place for as long as he can. He said he enjoys cutting students’ hair and hearing their stories.

“It’s a lot of fun hearing about their dreams and their wants,” Sockrider said. “It gives me a reason to get up during the day. A lot of people just retire and go home sit in a chair and die. That’s just not for me.”

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