North Texas Daily

Barber says goodbye to Fry

Barber says goodbye to Fry

February 22
02:28 2011

By Drew Gaines  / Senior Staff Writer –

In a flurry of vintage keychains, barber shears and barbecue, Fry Street’s longest surviving business went out with a bang Saturday night as the Campus Barber Shop said goodbye to the street that’s been its home for half a century.

More than 100 people, including family, friends and longtime customers, poured into the time-honored establishment Saturday night to celebrate its history and pay tribute to owner Gene Hartman.

“He is one of the best flattop cutters I have ever seen. And that is a dying art,” said Charley Higgins, 65, who has been a customer of Gene’s since 1966.

Among those to attend the block party were some of Hartman’s original customers, dating back 50 years, including his first haircut. Frenchy’s Lawn and Tree Service was on hand with one of their trademark orange trucks decked out in Campus Barber Shop regalia, and a representative from the Denton Historical Society was presented with a pair of vintage clippers from the shop.

“It is a longtime Denton landmark, and [Hartman] is a Denton institution in and of himself,” said John Marsh, 57.

The now vacant lots that surround the shop played host to dancers, diners and a few who could recall the area’s heyday, while a live band echoed Johnny Cash and kids toasted marshmallows over the fire.

“I have been here 16 years and I’ve seen a lot of change,” said Jeremy Carroll, 36, a barber at the shop. “I can’t imagine what Gene has seen.”

Carroll will be taking the reins of the Shop as its new owner when the barbers move across town to their new spot on East Hickory Street near the coming A-Train station. The location at 116 Fry St. will be demolished in early March, as developers make way for a new mixed-use retail and apartment complex.

“Well, one thing they can’t take is the memories. I’ve been blessed with good people,” Hartman said. “It has been a good run. I’m not ready to hang it up.”

The new shop will be located on the bottom floor of the Hickory Street Lofts. It is expected to open within a month, Carroll said.

“There is a bit of apprehension. It’s a big change for Gene, but that area holds a lot of promise for a lot of growth,” Carroll said.

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