Barber Shop Closes after 52 years

By: Katherine Cook
By: Katherine Cook

It's a slice of Americana-- The old fashion barber shop. They used to be everywhere, but now many are closing one-by-one including a special shop in Colorado Springs.
Ralph's Barber Shop has operated at 401 East Pikes Peak Avenue since 1990 and 2 other spots before it was there. Now its building is set to be demolished and with it, a piece of Colorado Springs History. Ralph Bustamante opened his doors in 1952 back when a shave and a haircut really was two bits. Not much has changed since, including the old cash register, the old Lincoln barber's chair and the way folks remember Ralph-- someone who everyone liked. Bustamante's daughter Jenny Kring cut hair beside her father until he died last September, but soon Kring will have to retire her straight razor for good. The building she rents has been sold and Kring says it's just too expensive to relocate.
"It's just a 'what are you going to do now thing,'" said Kring. We've been here forever."
Her faithful customers like Terry Quinn are at a loss.
"I hate to have to go though the effort to break in somebody new," said Quinn.
But even Bustamente's granddaughter Kim Wellen knows finding someone new will be easier than giving up something old.
"Everytime you come here you meet a new person, hear a new story, make a new friend," said Wellen. "It's just so old fashioned."
And says Kring, maybe a little out of fashion.
"It is a dying breed, in that nobody wants to be a barber anymore. They want to go into glamorous styling and this is just a barbershop."
Like mom's apple pie is just a desert, or baseball is just a game. After more than half a century of hair cuts, this piece of Americana is now history.
Ralph's will be open for business Saturday July 22th from 8:00 a.m. to noon, Friday, July 28th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon before closing for good.

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