The Court Barbershop in Hanford
May 28, 2015 02:39PM ● Published by Brandi Barnett
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High CourtJune 2015
Story and photos by Jen May Pastores
It’s like recalling a past instance, a moment that carries you to another time; where families sat around the dinner table exchanging stories from their day while Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” reverberated from the kitchen radio. This nostalgic feeling may be something you experience upon entering The Court Barber Shop in downtown Hanford, especially when greeted by gentlemen dressed in old-fashioned attire: black suspenders over a white dress shirt, black pants, black dress shoes, and a red, white and blue bow tie and sleeve garter. You can thank the twirling colored stripes on the barber pole perched outside the shop for transporting you back to the 1950s.
“We greet our customers, ask them how they’re doing, and they feel at home,” says owner Steven Jackson, who reflects on the necessary yet simple gesture of taking care of people who come in for a haircut. There’s no rushing customers here. Time is respected at a slower pace where precision with the clippers and updates on how life is going are perfectly paired during your service.
Standing with Jackson behind their own swivel chairs are Steven’s cousin, John Jackson, and grandfather to both, Darrell Jackson. Together, the Jackson family has been in the business of cutting hair for 125 years . “The Court Barber Shop is actually the oldest barber shop in the state of California,” says Steven, who said the business changed ownership several times before he took over in February 2014. John points to the cabinets behind them (currently used as styling stations) and explains how they kept the original decor from when the business was first established in the late 1920s.
Displayed on the wall is a frame holding old clippers that Steven and John’s great-great-grandfather once used on Darrell when he was a child. Now 78 years of age, Darrell is a natural teacher and keeps up with his grandsons, giving straight razor shaves around the ears of customers, just like he did when he had his own barber shop in the Bay Area. As Darrell moves into a part-time position in the shop, newly added barber Joey Paschall will help the team of barbers.
“(My grandpa) wanted to make sure I had a good job, and that I learned the craft real well,” says Steven. “It’s great to have him here. It helps to keep the old traditions alive, to carry over. We believe in strong family values and in working hard.”
A standard request is a facial shave, which involves a warm lather, then a warm steam towel wrapped over the client’s face to properly moisten and prepare the skin. After a minute and a half, another round of warm shaving cream is thickly applied before a smooth straight razor shave. Next, another hot towel is used to remove the soap before the after-shave and talcum powder is patted on to further protect and soothe the face.
“Know the show ‘Mad Men’? People like those haircuts,” Steven says of television character Don Draper, who has a vintage taper haircut with a clean, slick side part. Many customers visit The Court Barber Shop wanting a hairstyle like this or other rockabilly-inspired cuts from the ‘50s, including fades, flat tops and crew cuts – or as they were known back then, pompadours. Their practices are considered classic and appreciated by guests who come in. “We have the best mix of everybody. We have families. Ladies are OK with bringing kids into the shop. We have some really old customers, those from the U.S. Cavalry from World War II,” says Steven.
A fourth chair will be added to the trio to welcome an increase in guests visiting the shop, because as the family has learned in good fortune, “If you take care of your customers, customers will take good care of you.”
332 N. Irwin St., Hanford • (559) 585-0720 • Tuesday - Friday: 9 am-6 pm
Saturday 9 am-5 pm • Closed Sunday and Monday
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