SIDNEY — The circle of life comes in many forms. In a quaint three chair business on the court square, one circle has been completed, for now. Down Town Barber Shop, owned by Andy Steenrod, opened its doors 19 years ago. As young as the age of 14, Steenrod began cutting the hair of his younger brother, Adam. After graduating from Sidney High School, Andy Steenrod continued honing his skills at the Ron West Barber College in Dayton.
“I knew I wanted my own my own shop,” said Steenrod. “My business grew quickly and over the years I have had great employees. And it has been normal for me to work on Saturdays by myself.
“During the Farmers Market a little over a year ago, Scott Stewart, who was also one of my first customers at the age of 8 years old, walked into the shop. He just came in to say hi.
“The conversation led to me asking him what he was doing now and he told me he had gone to the Ron West Barber College and had his license to cut hair. I jumped on that and asked him if he would like to work here on Saturdays, that I could really use the help. Scotty showed up the next Saturday, ready to go to work.”
While Stewart was working in a barber shop in Dayton, one of his co-workers, Ray Daniel, who was also from Sidney, and he became good friends. A year after he had been working for Andy on Saturdays, Scotty told Ray he should come to Andy’s shop and join them.
Daniel also graduated from the Ron West Barber College in Dayton.
“I knew in my senior year at Sidney High School that I would work through my final year there then enroll in barber college after working all summer too save for tuition,” said Daniel. “You have to take 1800 hours at the school before you can take State Board Licensing exam. I graduated in May 2019 and took the exam in June 2019. Being a barber gives me interaction with people and ability to schedule my own hours as well as always having that career choice. That made it a good fit for me.”
Steenrod remembers the fist time he met Daniel as a young two year old.
“He got up into my seat with a booster chair. It was his very first haircut. He came to work for me a little over a year ago and he and Scotty went full time this July.”
Customers who come into Steenrod’s shop find the atmosphere and freindships they have established there more like a family. Getting that haircut happens about every 4 weeks, but there are a few who happen in every week for a trim.
Conversations in the shop cover a wide variety of subjects.
“We talk mostly about sports, especially the Buckeyes,” said Stewart. “And then there is the weather and food, which is usually lunch or dinner time.”
“And cars,” adds Rod Swob from Sidney, who is a regular at the shop. “I took a ride in my cousin’s Corvette when I was 7 years old. By the time I was 23 I had my own. We dont talk about politics in here, we keep it friendly.”
Everyone in the shop agrees.
Opening his own shop has become the perfect choice for Steenrod and his family. The atmosphere takes you back to what it would have been like in Floyd’s Shop in Mayberry with the antique chairs and Barber Pole in the front. But it also captures our small town friendliness and familiarality.
“That day Scotty stopped in on a Saturday just to say hello began another chapter in The Down Town Barber Shop,” Steenrod concludes. “It has just been cool to see how these two guys who I gave haircuts to when they were little are now working here with me. They were friends with one another before they came here. Both moved back to Sidney to work here, back to Sidney where they belong. It is like this place has come full circle. I love it!”