• Last modified 461 days ago (March 22, 2023)


New barber sharpens his skills

Staff writer

As his next customer plopped down in his barber chair, Elvis Willson asked the man whether he had any ideas about how he wanted his hair cut.

“The sky’s the limit,” the customer answered.

“A mohawk it is!” Willson said, joking.

Friday was Willson’s first day of business in Peabody. His Mr. Peabody’s Barbershop at 116 E. 2nd St. was bustling all day.

“I’ve been busy since I walked in,” he said. “I can’t complain about that.”

Willson previously owned barbershops in Halstead and Wichita.

Why Peabody?

“Why not?” he answered. “The town needed a barber.”

With an affinity for years past, Willson describes himself as an old-time barber. He offers straight-razor shaves.

“You’re not a barber if you don’t,” he said.

Customers sit in a barber chair that dates to 1900. It was a “barn find,” he said, and his wife reupholstered it. Customers wait in wooden, theater-style seats he found at a church in Newton.

Willson has been a barber since 2012, when he graduated from Old Town Barber College in Wichita. Before turning to scissors and razors, he customized cars and motorcycles. His Wichita business was called DeVille’s Barbershop and Shaving Parlor — as in Cadillac DeVille.

Willson likes barbering because “no two people are the same, so the conversation is always different.”

Barbers, like hairstylists and bartenders, also play somewhat of a therapist role to customers, listening to their stories and life hiccups.

Mr. Peabody’s, primarily a walk-in shop, is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Haircuts are $20. Beard trims start at $5 and go up to $20 depending on length and intricacy. Straight-razor shaves are $20 and include a hot towel and hot lather.

One of his customers Friday was Chris Young, a friend who drove from Ottawa for a cut and shave.

“Wow! I can look good,” Young said after Willson spun his barber chair around so Young could look in the mirror.

Last modified March 22, 2023