Glenwood barber also specializes in comedy |

Glenwood barber also specializes in comedy

Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Lesa Wilson makes her customers neat and tidy, and she knows just how to style hair to please their better halves, too. She’s been a barber for 37 years, and does something different every 15 or 20 minutes. A beard trim, a men’s haircut, or a children’s cut, and she’ll even clean your glasses if you need to write her a check.

An old-fashioned barbershop has a distinctive atmosphere. When you walk into the Grand Avenue Barber Shop in Glenwood Springs, which Lesa co-owns with partner Tonya Duplice, you know you’re among friends and you’ll have more than one good laugh. With all her jokes and funny stories, she could have been a comedienne.

Lesa and her husband, Eddie, moved to California for eight months more than 32 years ago, thinking it was a good thing to do, but it proved not to be where they belonged. So she called the Glenwood Springs Chamber and asked for the numbers for barbershops, and that person gave her the number for King’s Barbering Salon. They moved to Glenwood and she worked at King’s for 23 years.

Lesa has a sister, Daviette, who used to work at King’s, too. Daviette moved to Rapid City, S.D., and one day while Lesa was visiting her, she asked Daviette why she didn’t start her own shop. Lesa began calling the state board of barbershops, finding out how much it would cost to start a shop for her sister, and got everything rolling.

A few months later, Daviette returned the favor and encouraged Lesa to start her own shop. Lesa partnered with Tonya to start Grand Avenue Barber Shop, located at 2114 Grand Ave. It is decorated with what Lesa calls “boy toys,” because, according to her, when men come into a barbershop, they don’t want to see anything frilly.

Antique straight razors, shaving mugs, a “Modern Hair and Beard Styles” poster from about the 1950s and a “75 years of racing legends” poster adorn the walls. But there is a cute, cast-iron panda bear barber chair inside the front door for children, and an old-fashioned, twirling barber pole is hung outside the front door.

“When Eddie put down the black-and-white checkered floor, he didn’t want to have to do it over again. He put so much glue down, it’s still squirting glue,” Lesa said with her contagious laughter.

Several years ago, one of her four daughters asked why she hadn’t learned to be a hairdresser.

“I told her men are very easy to get along with. Men come in, you cut their hair and then they leave. Men don’t bitch.”

“This has been a fun profession. It’s been a long career, but I have never done anything else. I have never waited tables, never anything else,” she said a little more seriously.

When she attended a traditional barber college way back when, there were three such colleges in Colorado, and barbers were charging a whopping $2.50 per haircut in Grand Junction. Now the closest barber college is located in Fargo, N.D.

“Now we’re one of the last traditional barbershops in Glenwood Springs.” She thinks her profession is dying, and that makes her sad.

“I feel bad for those families that won’t have a barbershop to go to. Barbershops are special. It’s a tradition. I’ve done lots of first haircuts for men, and now I’m giving their little babies first cuts.”

Local attorney Dan Kerst has been Lesa’s customer for more than 15 years. “Anyone who’s been doing this as long as Lesa has, has a lot of patience,” he said. “I’ve watched her children grow up and heard a lot of funny stories about them.”

“If you want a place to hide out, barbershops are a great place to do that,” Lesa said.

With Lesa’s shop, a trip inside could also be a funny respite from the snowy world outside.

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