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Larry Lancaster celebrating 50 years at family barbershop in Fredericksburg
Date published: 9/9/2012
Larry Lancaster never used to understand why his father was so completely unable to stay away from the business he started in 1936 at the corner of Germania and Princess Anne streets in downtown Fredericksburg.
Arlington Lancaster kept coming to Lancaster's Barber Shop early in the morning for years after he sold the business to his son decades ago. The elder Lancaster came to work three days before he died about 20 years ago.
But now, as Larry Lancaster celebrates 50 years working full time at the barbershop, the son is beginning to understand the father.
When Larry Lancaster returns from vacations, one of the first things he does is check on his building across from the 2400 Diner to make sure everything is OK. He claims to be semi-retired, but he still works five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, for almost seven hours a day. He has no plans to retire, because he'd miss his loyal customers too much.
Growing up, Larry Lancaster never intended to follow in his father's footsteps. But the barbershop, where Lancaster started shining shoes when he was just 8 years old, grew on him. He started working there full time a few days after graduating from James Monroe High School in 1962, and has been there ever since.
Lancaster has now been around long enough to cut the hair of three and four generations of some families. Through it all the old-fashioned shop has changed little. Model cars and police and fire patches adorn the walls. There are four customer chairs (Lancaster mans the first one on the left), and at least two barbers on duty during open hours. There are no appointments; everything is walk-in.
Most customers have found out about Lancaster's through word of mouth. Many have been coming there for decades.
One of those regulars is Bealeton resident Jim Hendrickson, whose hair Lancaster has been cutting for 35 years. Hendrickson said the shop reminds him of where he grew up in Illinois, where everyone knew everybody else. He likes everything about the shop--the conversation, the decor, the price ($11 for a haircut) and the service Lancaster provides.
"He's a pillar in the community," Hendrickson said. "Most of us are devoted."