“To be as Professional as Ed Lingley!”
Ed Lingley owned and operated “Ed Lingley’s Barber Shop” for 50 years, retiring in 1999. Although Ed’s shop changed in appearance and the name was changed to the “Cornerstone Barber Shop”, Ed’s influence can still be felt. The Legacy that Ed left was Professionalism, which is the foundation of the existing Barber Shop.
Ed earned our respect and our appreciation for what he brought to the Barbering Profession, and our admiration for who he was as a person. For various mundane reasons, the locks have been changed many times since 1999, but Ed Lingley always had a key to the front door of 210 Exchange Street. Between 1999 until shortly before he died, it was not uncommon to see the Barber Shop lights on after hours and Ed giving his son and grandson their haircuts.
Ed showed up for work each day impeccably groomed, wearing polished shoes, dress pants, dress shirt, a tie, and a smile. Ed believed that Barbering was an honorable Profession and acted accordingly. He truly believed that the customer, while in his shop, was always right. He never disagree with a customer’s beliefs. He never appeared to be in too much of a hurry to listen to an old joke, or the excitement of a new life event. Ed always made his customers feel completely at ease … greeting each one as an old friend or a potential new friend. Every customer, that sat in Ed’s chair, knew they were welcome and that they had Ed’s full undivided attention. From the bank presidents to the street sweeper, Ed treated each customer as if they were special … and to him they all were.
The mark of a really good Barber is one that strives to keep up with the new styles and techniques. Ed watched the styles change from short, to long, and back again and he kept up with all of these changes and excelled at his profession. He offered razor cuts, hair coloring, and hairstyling, before it became common place to provide these services. He also continued to offer the older services such as face shaves, facials, and head massages, after such services were reduced to a mere memory in other shops.
An indication that a Barber has stayed in the profession beyond his/her time, is when most of the hair on the floor is white and there are no lollipops in the shop. As always, the last day Ed worked, there was a wide variety of different colors of hair on the floor and a large container of lollipops for the children. Ed retired, not because Professional ‘time was up’, but to have more time to spend with his family and loved ones … and to play more golf.
“Ed Lingley’s Barber Shop” showed all the signs of half a century of life, marked in tens of thousands of services on generation, after generation, of customers. Customers shared their joys, sorrows, and their views on everything from current events to the weather. The walls slowly darkened with cigarette smoke and age, as customers talked about the man that first stepped on the moon; the little boy in the short pants that saluted as the body of his father passed by; the echo of the voice “He’s been shot, He’s been shot” as they watched a man actually shot on live TV. Half a century of foot traffic wearing it’s own pattern into the aging floor, as children on booster seats grew up and brought in their own little boys and then their grandson
Fifty years of life, passed into history, marked by Mona Lingley’s seasonal changing of the plastic plants, on the room divider in “Ed Lingley’s Barber Shop.” An old man casually hangs his hat on the elk horns, hanging on the wall, stirring a bit of the dust that had collected with the passing of time. An old discussion begins, or continues, about where the elk horns ‘really’ came from and did Ed really catch that fish that hangs on the other wall? Jokes were tossed around about the stacks of old magazines piled on the coffee table in the waiting room. Each magazine had different mailing addresses, belonging to the many customers who brought them in to “encourage Ed to get some updated magazines.” Friends, family members and strangers all come together, by design or by chance, as they waited their turn to have their hair trimmed. In an ever changing world, a degree of comfort comes from the warm welcoming smile on the face of the Barber that has cut your hair since you were a child.
In sharp contrast, to the stacks of old magazines, the walls that needed a few coats of paint, the stuffed fish hanging on the wall (that may or may not have been caught by Ed), the elk horns that made a good hat rack and the plastic plants in the top of the short room divider (that were changed according to the seasons) … there stood a man with highly polished shoes, sharply pressed dress pants, dress shirt, a tie, impeccably groomed hair and a warm welcoming smile.
Ed Lingley will always be the benchmark for the truly Professional Barber. If anyone wants to know what Professionalism means, in reference to Barbering … may they meet someone that was fortunate enough to know Ed.