It’s a “G” Thing: A cut above the rest at Paul Mole’s, NYC’s oldest barber shop

Shear. Shave. Shine.

It’s grooming for guys.

“Barbers are back in style big time,” Adrian Wood said.

They’ve been the focus of blockbuster movies.

They’ve battled it out on reality TV.

They even have their own music genre.

But it’s a place like Paul Mole‘s where it all comes to life.

“Its a very old-fashioned place where things slow down,” Michael Altman, a longtime customer, said.

“I just get this buzz and it’s never gone away,” Adrian Wood, the owner, said

Adrian Wood is the current owner. And it happens to be the oldest barber shop in New York City.

“I’ve been here for 42 years on Lexington Avenue,” he said. “The store has been here for 101 years”

Before taking over the store, he traveled the world cutting hair.

“I realized this was my way out of a factory town in the North of England,” Adrian explained. “My first time on a play, I sold my piano to buy the ticket, and I went to Bermuda [and worked] in a hotel. Then I went to Montreal…and then back to London.”

Eventually he made his way to the U.S.

“I was walking down Lexington Avenue and I ran into a bunch of barbers,” Adrian remembered. “I had really long hair and they pulled me aside and let me know that I was the cause of the demise of barber shops.”

Adrian soon started training those barbers in new techniques.

“Then they said you know what, why don’t you run the shop,” he said.

The shop’s moved twice since then but has always stayed on Lexington.

Web Extra: Mr. G gets a hot towel and facial massage

The authentic decor gives customers that old-fashioned feel.

“This is my 43rd year coming here,” Michael Altman said. “I come here because it’s tradition, I bring my two boys here, we [even] live an hour and 15 minutes away.”

And for Adrian, it’s people like Michael that bring him the biggest joy.

“I didn’t have an education really at all, I’ve been educated by my customers,” he said. “They’re very important to me and I let them know how important they are.”

Just as important are his fellow barbers, who he calls family.

“Four years ago, I slipped and fell and broke my hand and I couldn’t work,” Roberto Patane, an employee, said. “I said Adrian what am I going to do? I’ve got a baby just born and he said don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of you.”

Adrian may be one of the most knowledgeable barbers around, but it’s the way he genuinely cares that really caught my attention.

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I asked him. “I would like to be here, this is my home.”

 

Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi

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