One chair, one barber

Marshall resident Harold Halverson has been cutting hair for more than 55 years

Photo by Karin Elton Harold Halverson gives his son-in-law, Greg Rund, a trim on a Thursday afternoon at his shop on Third Street.


He starts out his day solving world problems and drinking coffee with the fellows at Mike’s Cafe, but after that he gets to work at the business he’s been in since the 1960s — cutting hair.

“I start late and make up for it by quitting early,” Harold Halverson said of his schedule.

Halverson, a Marshall High School alum class of 1959, works out of his barber shop on Third Street in the mini mall next to Ameriprise Financial.

He started out in 1963, after a three-year stint in the U.S. Navy. He went to barber school in Minneapolis and soon worked for Mel Schmidt in Marshall.

“He hired me and we worked out of a shop on Main Street (where the MainStay coffee shop is now) and then in 1965 we moved to Third Street across the street by the alley,” Halverson said.

“When I first started cutting hair I think they had just gone to a dollar for a hair cut,” he said. “I remember in the late ’70s a customer of mine saying, ‘some day we’ll be paying $5 for a hair cut’ and someone else saying, ‘it will never happen!'”

Back then businessmen would get their hair cut every other week, Halverson said.

“For $1 a cut, they could afford it,” he said.

The style was close on the sides and “not real long in the back,” he said.

When he started out, “there were eight or nine barbers,” he said. “Now there is just my shop and the Sportsmen’s Barber Shop.”

In the 1970s, his daughter, Dawn, graduated from high school and went to barber school in Sioux Falls, S.D. She then cut hair alongside him. They worked out of a shop in the early ’80s on Third Street.

“Then she saw an ad for flight attendants and moved to North Carolina,” he said. From then on, there’s only been one chair in his shop.

Halverson and his late wife, Joan, had four daughters, Brenda Lee, Shannon Rund, Debbie Coleman and Dawn Brown. He has six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

He worked part time for years at the post office in Cottonwood. His very first job was delivering newspapers for the Marshall Messenger.

Nowadays, he considers himself semi-retired. He will take a few walk-ins but prefers to cut hair by appointment.

“That way I can adjust my day the way I want it,” he said. “I do my own thing.”

His long-time customers tell him to never retire.

“My old customers tell me, ‘you can’t retire, I don’t know what I’d do.'”

Halverson said he has cut the hair of generations — “grandpas, fathers and sons.”

For the most part, he cuts men’s hair the way he always has.

“I’m a traditional haircutter,” he said. “Some guys like a military cut, some like it really long. I keep ’em all happy.”


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