Pastime Barber Shop celebrates 110th birthday

Sam Stockard, The Murfreesboro Post, October 6, 2014

Pastime Barber Shop has been a part of the Rutherford County Square since 1904.

The sign on the sidewalk advertises $12 haircuts and 50-cent pool.  But for 110 years, Pastime Barber Shop and Pool Hall has been selling more than a cut and a game on the Public Square.

“Everybody’s always in such a rush.  We like to take them back in time,” says Charlotte Crockett, who’s been cutting hair there for more than 13 years.

Hot-towel neck shaves, head and neck rubs with an old-time massager and a good “pampering” of customers separate Pastime from regular salons. And if you can’t afford two quarters for a game of pool, you can play free for a week after getting a haircut.

“We’re like fine wine and good cheese, well-preserved,” says Donna Corum, who hasn’t quite worked at Pastime the entire 110 years it’s been on the Square, but she’s been there since Jimmy and Toni Lester bought the shop 18 years ago.

“The array of different people, people of all walks of life” keep her working there, Donna says.

Brad Stocks and his son, Ryan, visited Pastime Saturday as it celebrated its 110th birthday.

“It’s about like a home,” the elder Stocks says.  “You can shoot pool after you get your hair cut.  Every once in a while they put food out for the customers.  They seem to memorize what kind of haircut you need.  No matter where you sit, they know how to cut it.”

Stocks has been bringing Ryan here since he was 2.

“It’s pretty much the same every time.  It’s always good,” Ryan says of the cuts.  “It’s a peaceful environment, and they’ve got the pool tables in the back.”

Customer Tim Edwards points out that it’s nothing like the atmosphere of a “corporate” barber shop.

“This is hometown.  I’m supporting the Square,” Edwards says as he gets his hair cut Saturday.  “I come because the barber does an awesome job.”

Jimmy Lester, who owns Pastime with his wife, Toni, says he was the last one to know the shop was having a big birthday bash Saturday.  He was low key about the event and the shop.

“I’ve been coming here all my life, since I was 16,” he says.  “If you’re going to come down here to shoot pool, you might as well own it.”

Lester can recall when Norris Lovvorn owned the building in the 1940s and ’50s and the time when it was separated into three pool halls during the days of segregation when Don Matthews owned it.

“It’s been here quite a while,” he says.

In fact, his step-daughter, Paige Bailey, says she’s been there 25 years, practically growing up there.

“It’s family-like,” she points out.  “There’s not a lot of places you can go in town anymore and know everybody.  It feels like home.”

Bailey notes that Pastime cuts women’s hair, too, but that’s been a well-kept secret.  Men fill the chairs during the birthday celebration.

Country music plays on the radio, but they have a turntable, too, for vinyl albums with Journey’s Infinity ready to turn.

The back room is where the rest of the action takes place, with about five pool tables.  It stays open even after the barber shop closes.

Greg Eudaley says he comes in a couple of times a month to play pool, not to get a haircut.

“Just the cheap pool and the fact it’s open when no one else is” keeps him coming back, he says.

Comments are closed.