DENVER — The greetings are the same. The customers are the same as well. But the times are different now.
It may be cliché to say nothing stays the same, but at O’Brien’s Tonsorial Parlor on East 8th Avenue in Denver, it pretty much did stay the same for 65 years.
“There’s no one that expects to stay on one job in the same place for 65 years. That just doesn’t happen very often,” laughed Dick Alderson. He has had the pleasure of knowing many heads at O’Brien’s. He owns the place. He started working there when he was 18 years old.
With rent topping out at over $2,200 a month, almost double what it was last year, and Dick approaching 84 years old, well, it was time to go. “I don’t know who can come into a little place like this, pay $2,200 a month, and make a living. Unless they’re selling marijuana or something.”
The barber shop’s scissors, razors and clippers were gone, refreshments filled the sinks Friday and memories filled the conversation.
O’Brien’s closing has been felt by many, including United States Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who had his haircut there when he was a 10-year-old boy, “a classmate of his told him the barber shop was closing and he took the time to write me a letter.”
Cliché or not, nothing truly ever stays the same, but that doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier.
If you wanted to say goodbye yourself, O’Brien’s will be open, Saturday Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as an appreciation day for customers. No haircuts will be offered, though.