Bogalusa barber decides to hang up his clippers after 51 years cutting hair

Published 9:10 am Friday, October 31, 2014

After 51 years, Bogalusa barber Jay Penton hung up his clippers for good.

The 70-year-old Penton, owner of Jay’s Barber Shop at 225 Alabama Ave., retired Thursday. He has been in the same location since February 1987. His son, Jeremy Penton, and son-in-law, Wayne Sumrall, took over the business and kept the shop name.

“When I started the barber business back in 1963, it was flat tops, short regular haircuts and crew cuts on kids,” Penton said Monday before his retirement. “I guess the Beatles started the long hair trend. Hair got longer, longer and longer and put a lot of barbers in the area out of business. There weren’t but two barber shops in Bogalusa that stayed open during the long hair trend.”

Penton said short hair later became the “in” thing.

“Hair then started going back to the shorter haircuts,” Penton said. “Now they call it a fade, high and tight,” Penton said. “These young people like it skin tight on the sides and short on top.”

Penton started out cutting hair on Third Street behind First State Bank. After serving six months active duty in the military, Penton returned and cut hair in Slidell for six months. In June 1966 Penton plied his trade at Ray’s Barber Shop, before it became Plaza Barber Shop, in Pinetree Plaza until February 1987. The price of a haircut when he started cutting hair was $1.25. He charges $13 now.

Penton said his desire to do more things with his time led to his decision to retire.

“I just wanted to spend more time with my family, do more church work and maybe do a little traveling, me and my wife,” Penton said.

Penton said he has enjoyed about every aspect of his profession.

“I’ve enjoyed my work and my customers,” Penton said. “It’s just been a pleasant vocation over the years. The Lord has blessed me over the years with many, many good customers, who have been very faithful. I would just like to tell them now how much I thank them. I’d like for my customers to continue coming for the same friendly service they’ve always had.”

Wayne has been in business with his father-in-law for 25 years, while Jeremy has been with his father for the last 14 years. They all live in Pine.