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By Natalie Gorsuch
Williamsburg Correspondent 

A New Facet of Life (Part 2)

Harry Mullins Brings Charlie's Barber Shop Back to Life

 
Series: Williamsburg | Story 25

February 6, 2020

Natalie Gorsuch

"This place, I want everyone to feel a piece of home when they walk in," Mullins said. "Maybe they went to Charlie's for their first haircut or maybe their grandfather did. I want people to have that sense of nostalgia."

Remember it – the Williamsburg barber shop, circa 1958 – what do you see?

Take a look around – the small sink, the two barber shop chairs and the bar with mirrors. If you step into Charlie's Barber Shop today, you're going to see those same things that made the place so memorable all those years ago.

Williamsburg resident Harry Mullins said, "I just want people to feel at home, but also have that sense of nostalgia when they walk in."

Over the past two years – since he has bought the barber shop – Mullins has welcomed residents and visitors young and old and even local politicians who want to see the Williamsburg history that lines the barber shop walls.

For Mullins, there are four items that seem to have the strongest hold on his heart. One of those items is the Class of 1966 class banner. A friend, Chris Detwiler, took a photo of the banner and made a replica that Mullins has in his shop, proudly displayed.

"First and foremost, I want people to come into the shop to know how much the Williamsburg Community School District has meant to me and my family," Mullins said. "Not being a native of the town, this school has given me memories to last a lifetime and friendships to cherish."

One of those friendships was that of the late Agri science legend, Joe Very, whom Mullins calls his mentor.

"He was a human being who I had the utmost respect for – he befriended everybody and made everyone feel as if they were always great friends," Mullins said.

Another one of Mullins' treasures in the store is a picture of Joe and his wife Anna May, whom Mullins says, "are like grandparents to my three little ones."

Some of Very's toy collection is now part of Mullins' collection in the shop.

Mullins is also proud of the two barber chairs from the late 1930s and 1940s which are the central point of the barber shop – then and now.

Natalie Gorsuch

One of the walls in Charlie's Barber Shop, showing some of the history of Williamsburg. Most of the photographs and art work has been donated by Williamsburg residents.

"They just solidify the history of this place and why its so important for those young and old to appreciate the history we have in this small town," Mullins said.

Some of the other keepsakes in the shop are 1940s and 1950s matchbook covers that showcase Williamsburg businesses of that time, two Williamsburg Monopoly board games, past issues of the old Williamsburg Focus articles published in the Morrisons Cove Herald, and 1955-1986 Williamsburg Community School District yearbooks.

What does the future hold for Charlie's Barber Shop?

"I hope someday that there would be a heritage society again," Mullins said. "A lot of these items in this shop – people say that if I don't take them, they're just going to throw them away. It only makes sense to me, as a person who loves history, collecting and a person who loves this town – to try to preserve items for the community for years to come."

 

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