Kut & Shave Barbers

James Kincheloe, owner

1133 Commercial St., Astoria


ASTORIA — It’s been nearly three full months of silence, but a barbershop on Commercial Street is finally buzzing.

“It feels good to be open,” said Kut & Shave Barbers owner James Kincheloe in between haircut appointments Friday, May 29. “I got shut down right when I was about to open the next day."

On March 23, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s "Stay Home, Save Lives," order called for the immediate closure of nonessential businesses to help slow the spread of the covid-19 virus. Kincheloe’s barbershop was among the mass of non-essential businesses that closed in the wake, just days from an official grand opening.

Special sanitation measures

Kincheloe, a third-generation barber with more than 20 years in the business, had longed to open his own barbershop after working for other shops in the area. His first official day of business came in May, approximately three months after he originally planned to open.

“I originally planned on opening March 25,” he said. “Right now they’re making us do appointment only.”

The appointment-only stipulation has meant no more walk-ins and limiting bookings to about 10 per day, or about one per hour, Kincheloe said.

“We don’t have the regular flow that we would normally have since it’s by appointment only," he sadi. "It sucks. But other than that we’re steady. We’re full. Some of them are a half hour but most of them take an hour because we’re doing extra sanitation in between.”

The barbershop implemented new sanitary measures and stopped some services to help limit exposure to the covid-19 virus.

“We typically do haircuts and shaves but right now we’re not doing any shaves because we’re limiting ourselves on some contact. We’ll still do a beard trim but we’re waiting to do things on a regular basis,” Kincheloe said.

The shop also relocated the front barber station toward the center of the shop to make room for a hand-washing sink for customers.

“They can come in wash their hands and fill out a form — that way their hands are already clean,” Kincheloe said. “It’s just an extra little precaution.”

Standard sanitation procedures were also elevated.

“We have to change our tape and smock for every person. We disinfect our chair and cabinet before anyone else comes in,” Kincheloe. “It’s the tapes that drive us nuts. And I have laundry that I have to do every day.”

More diversions planned

The barbershop has a pool table in the back and will eventually have vending machines, small comforts that contribute to the barbershop experience, but neither of which are currently permitted. The change in routine has been the biggest challenge, Kincheloe said.

“Not having people be able to sit and wait, chitchat or have a beer, just having to do it by appointment. You get used to doing it a certain way,” he said.

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