By Adam Madison
Triplicate staff writer
Crescent City is a cut above when it comes to authentic barbershops, from small shops modeled for adults, to shops catered for families.
Many of the barbershops are decades old.
Dave Montez, owner of Dave's Barber and Stylist is a barber with 42 years of experience 22 of them spent at his barbershop on I street.
"This shop was put in right after the tidal wave (1964)," Montez said.
As with traditional, neighborhood barbers, Montez continues to be the only barber in his shop which sports only one chair that he cuts hair on.
Montez had applied at the shop for a barber position when it was owned by Bill Spencer, but a barber wasn't needed at the time.
"After Bill died, his wife found my card and phoned," said Montez about how his job began 22 years ago, adding that what brought him to Crescent City to become a barber was, "I was hooked on steelhead."
Many of Montez's customers have been coming to his shop for years.
Raymond McQuillen used to get his hair cut by Spencer before he came to Montez, from whom he received his first haircut as a 10-year-old.
"He cuts my hair like I like it; why change a good thing?" said McQuillen, who has been coming to Montez's shop for 20 years.
Ray Bower has been cutting hair in Crescent City for 33 years.
Bower has also been in Del Norte County for 45 years.
"I didn't need the room," Bower said about moving to his smaller shop on H Street.
For a classic straight-razor shave, Bower's shop is ideal and one of the few barbers in the area to still offer it.
"It gives you a real clean feeling," said Gene Lyssenko, a 10-year patron, about the shaving that Bowers does with a straight-razor.
Lee Butler, who lives out of town, has been coming to Bower's shop for 10 years.
"He knows his job and he does it well," Butler said.
Les Spencer is 80 years old and still cuts hair every afternoon Monday through Friday.
Spencer received his barbering license in 1952 and became a barber in 1959 in a shop inside of the Mecca Movie Theater on H street, between Second and Third streets. He worked in 1965 with his brother Bill at the shop Montez now owns on I Street.
"I have a fused knee, and I needed to find something I could do standing," Spencer said about his choice to become a barber.
Customers are willing to work around Spencer's limited hours.
"I try to get him every time, sometimes I miss him though," said Earl Pasley, Spencer's client for 16 years.
Les Spencer's new shop has been on U.S. Hwy. 101 for 13 years and has five barber chairs as opposed to the one or two in other shops.
Barbers Fred Endlich and Kathy Roberts assist him in cutting hair.
Endlich, a barber for 40 years, also does straight-razor shaves. Roberts has been cutting hair for eight years and is also a Master Barber.
Taking the wave out
"I grew up surfing, it's part of our life," said Dave Wright about the surf-decor covering the walls at his Big Wave Barbershop on Ninth Street. He co-owns the shop with his wife.
The Wright's shop caters to young and old customers, with a kid's corner that has toys, a television and a video game system.
The shop also has an "Adult's Corner," with a big screen TV and a DVD player. "Way over in the corner," Leatha Wright said jokingly about the setback location of the "Adult's Corner."
Kevin Osborne has been Dave Wright's customer for nine years.
"He cut the wave out of the hair," Osborne said about his barber as motioning to the the back of his head.