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‘We know each other’s lives,’ barber says as he closes shop

  • Dave Harley wipes down his chair with disinfectant after giving a haircut in Chelsea, Vt., Wednesday, July 22, 2020. After 40 years of barbering, 26 of those in Chelsea, Vt., 72-year-old Harley has decided to retire earlier than planned due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on his business. He reopened two-and-a-half months after restrictions went into effect and said he had one steady week before business dropped off and he found he would not be able to make his rent payment. Walk-ins made up the majority of customers before, and patrons have been slow to switch to making appointments. “It’s changed the habits of my customers,” he said. “You can’t associate with people who just want to talk sometimes.” Some are reticent to wear masks. “I’ve had longtime customers storm out because they have to wear masks,” he said. “I believe that the mask is the only thing that can make the difference.” Richard Guild, of Williamstown, Vt., came in for his final cut with Harley on Thursday. “It’s like changing doctors almost,” said Guild of losing his longtime barber. “They’re not only customers,” Harley said. “They’re friends. We know each other's lives, my customers and I.” Harley will close the shop on July 31. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Published: 7/24/2020 10:05:40 PM
Modified: 7/24/2020 10:05:36 PM

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