Henry's Barber Shop

Henry's Barber Shop

Posted by Kolby Harris on

Henry Damm has been a licensed Barber and Hairdresser since 1953. Henry’s father was a licensed barber since 1917. His parents owned a barbershop/salon in Bloomberg Germany. Not finding work outside of the workplace he had been brought up in, Henry garnered 2 licenses, barber and hairdresser. Back then to attain a barber license one had to know the skills we know now but also had to know hair tying and how to make wigs and do weaves.

Spreading his wings, in 1953 Henry came to Canada on a one way ticket with $10.00 in his pocket and one night’s stay paid for. The next day Henry found employment at a local barbershop and was fired the same day when they found out he was German. The ill will felt towards Germans after two world wars was still evident even 8 years after the war ended.

He got by and eventually he opened his own barbershop/hair salon. In his shop in Toronto he hired Europeans which led to his location being an international information center due to the fact that Henry and his staff knew 17 languages. This shop was very successful until the 60’s when the long hair era took hold and barbering needs diminished. The new generation of long hairs were being tended to by hairdressers. This downturn led Henry to have other successful business’ including barbershops across Toronto.

In 2000 Henry moved to Peterborough to be closer to family thinking of retirement. Once in Peterborough Henry realized that he still had the drive to create an atmosphere for men to go to since he saw that the barber was becoming a lost art. Yes there were numerous stylists plying their trade but they either forgot or did not know how to use scissors and razors on men. Henry is a wealth of knowledge. He has his opinions formulated on years of experience. Henry says trends come and go but the basics remain consistent. Learning to cut hair in a school does not work he says. Being an apprentice in a shop, watching, asking questions and being within the barbershop atmosphere is the way to learn. New barbers need to know how to cut all styles, they need to know scissor cuts, electric clippers and learn with hand clippers. Too many new barbers are electric clipper only which in his mind limits the skill of a barber. Being from the old school, Henry is not a lover of hair products. He came from the era of using beer and blow dryers to set hair. He has seen improvement in hair products. He saw too many bad products out there in use referred to as a pomade but they were just like glue. He knows a good product and has been using Suavecito pomade for a while now. His word of advice to barbers and customers alike, chose your products wisely.

Still with a passion of a barber but now tired of the non-cutting duties of a shop owner, Henry decided to turn over the legacy of Henry’s Barber Shop to Master Barber Jay Dymond. Jay and his partner Mike Macdonald extensively refurbished the 2 chair shop into a 6 chair full time barbershop. They have a full line of hair care products and plan to add 2 more stations in the near future.

Henry is still cutting 3 days a week and will do so until he is no longer able.

Jay Dymond had 10 years of self-taught barber experience but realized he needed training in the traditional barber methods. No barber would give him a chance to train with them but Henry Damm must have seen something in Jay and offered him a chance to start from the bottom as an apprentice in the same fashion that Henry had been trained. Henry laid out the rules of the apprenticeship saying that Jay would learn the same way that Henry did under his father. Little did Jay know what that actually meant.In the early days, despite his experience, Jay was not allowed to cut hair. He was to have his barber tools with him and was to have the shop clean and ready each morning before opening, watch and ask questions .Jay learned what Henry meant when he said he would teach him just as his father taught him when one day Jay forgot his tools. After cleaning the shop, Jay said to Henry that he would be right back. Upon his return with his forgotten tools in hand he promptly received a cuff on the back of the head knocking him to the floor. Henry asked if he would ever forget him tools again, Jay’s response was “No sir”. That was the exact moment when Jay realized what the barber trade meant to Henry and now what it meant to him.

Jay spent untold long hours learning his craft from Henry. He learned the old way with clippers, scissors and razor, no power tools.

Henry being an old school teacher, never taught any pomade techniques to Jay. Being from a younger generation Jay saw the new styles and how people were using hair products. He had experience with old style pomades and looked to see what currently available product best resembled the old product that he had used. With many products from the likes of Uppercut, Grants, Suavecito available at Henrys, Jay fell in love with Uppercut due to the lines versatility with both water and petroleum based products. Jay uses a range of products but his “go to” is Uppercut due to the functional similarities to the old style pomades that he started out with.

Jay has near 20 years of experience as a barber, the last 7 of which have been as a Master Barber. Over these years he has seen styles change and come full circle. Side parts, low fades, high fades, bald fades. Sure he now sees artistic design and patterning being a part new hair design and nothing surprises him. He is interested to see where hair styles will be in 10 years given that barbering styles have come in and out of fashion, but with new twists, repeatedly over the last 150 years.

Jay is adamant that he has been privileged to apprentice under Henry Damm. He learned the old school way and with that he has been able to adapt to new styles and trends. One can be sure that very few if any new apprentices now a days learn without any power tools. Jay apprenticed under Master Barber Henry then continued to Master under him. Jay is quick to point out that Henry was more than a teacher, he was and continues to be like a father. Henry was not just a part of his work life, Henry is part of Jay and his family’s lives. Like all family there are good and bad days, butting heads and having fun but above all there is a teacher/student, father/son relationship that will never be broken.

Henry once asked Jay what he wanted to be. Jay’s response was that he wanted to be a good barber. Henry said no. Asking Henry multiple times what the right answer was, Henry finally said “you want to be the best, better than me and better than every barber out there”. That stuck with Jay and he strives to reach that goal every day. He says he will never stop learning from Henry or trying to be the best. He proudly says “thanks War Machine, I and my staff owe it all to you”

Master Barber Jay Dymond now oversees 6 stations and tutors 3 barbers and 2 apprentices at Henry’s. He is very happy to have Henry by his side until the Master decides to hang up his scissors.

Stop by Henry’s Barber Shop to see what the mix of new products/methods, along with the traditions and knowledge of traditional barbering, can do for you.

“TRADITION STILL MATTERS. SINCE 1955” Henrys Barber Shop Inc.

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