Walking into Jack’s Barber Shop in south Scottsdale is like taking a stroll back in time. Four old-fashioned barber chairs, a swirling striped barber pole, noisy conversation and clipping away at head after head fill one’s mind with memories of days gone by.
That’s the way Jack Luge and his customers like it. Still, modern conveniences such as a big-screen TV and replica jukebox add to the experience of men getting their hair cut by a thirdgeneration barber whose first Scottsdale location opened in 1957, after he relocated to the Valley from Decatur, Ill.
"This place looks like a barber shop should look," said 46-year-old Gary Sliney of north Tempe. "I’ve been going to Jack all my life. I like the atmosphere and the haircut. I don’t want to go to a beauty salon for a haircut. It doesn’t feel natural."
Knowing his customers is a natural thing for Luge, who said it takes three or four visits for him to remember a name and how each customer wants his hair cut. Cuts, at $14 a pop, are the only thing Luge does, although they include straight razor shaving around a man’s ears and the back of his neck.
A sign reading "Get your hair cut early in the day ‘cause I don’t stay open late!" prompts customers to realize Luge closes the store at 2 p.m. weekdays and 1 p.m. Saturday. Luge said he cut back due to medical problems; when he has more barbers in the winter, the shop is open until 5 p.m.
"I don’t even mind the drive because he’s the best barber I’ve ever had," said Bob Parish of Glendale, who drives 30 miles one way to get a haircut from Luge. "It’s like the old days in here. He’ll sing occasionally and some of us will sit around and talk about the current news. Jack knows what I want."
Only one chair is used — Luge hires other barbers when winter residents return — and there’s an original 1935 chair in his window as a prop.
He doesn’t cut children’s hair anymore — "Most of the kids who come in here are around 44," he said — but Luge continues to have a solid customer base.
He relocated his shop to Papago Plaza nine years ago from the former Smitty’s shopping center nearby. He said he appreciates his job and those who keep coming back to let him do it.
"I wanted to be a barber when I was 12," the 64-yearold Luge said. "I learned a lot from my father, grandfather and late brother who were barbers. I also went to barber school when I was 15.
"I want to do this until I can say I have 65 years in the business," Luge added. "I’ll be 80 then and it will be finally time to quit."