Stalwart cuts business ties

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

Albany’s vintage barber shop Cut of Class by Eli has waved goodbye to the man himself, Eli Dul, as he hangs up the razor and sells his business after almost 50 years.

Mr Dul started his career with an apprenticeship at Franks on the Terrace in 1964, buying his own business in 1970, which today still oozes with traditional barber shop character, complete with an authentic wooden barber chair more than 100 years old.

In love with the industry, Mr Dul could easily go on with the business his whole life, but with his wife, has decided the time is right after receiving an offer to buy it.

When asked what the key to his long success was, he said it all came down to having loyal customers and offering a good service.

“I have mainly regular customers — up to four generations of families in some cases,” he said.

“I am still cutting a man’s hair that I was cutting when I started my apprenticeship.”

Mr Dul has run the business with wife Jennifer and said the best thing about the business was that the customers soon become your family.

“There was a gentleman who used to have his hair cut once a week,” he said. “When he passed away I was invited to the closed funeral with immediate family.

“So you get close to your customers.

“Men confide in you, often in health issues and all that, so you have to be a good listener.”

For a period in the 1980s, when unisex hairstyles were the in thing, he had to hire a women’s hairdresser for two years.

When you have been in the game as long as Mr Dul, you can see the way the industry has developed over time.

He said when he started cutting hair, it was all scissors and he had no electronic razor.

“I think barbering is turning around — I think men are now looking for barber shops.” he said.

With 22 years experience and having worked for Mr Dul for the last year or so, the new owner of the well-respected barber shop is Nat Flett, and she said she hoped she could provide the same outstanding service as he.

“Eli and Jennifer have worked really really hard over the last 50 years to build the best clientele and it shows in the clients that they have here,” she said.

“They are very well loved.”

Mr Dul and his wife said they wanted to thank their loyal customers for their support and wished Ms Flett lots of success.

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