A return to the Gold Standard

Gordon Woods / Journal Barber Ryan Goldman, in his shop on Mr. Lincoln’s Square, ready to greet customers for the day. Gold Standard Barber Shop is located on the southwest corner of the square.

Gold isn’t just in the name of Clinton’s new barbershop, it’s in the owner’s name as well.

Barber Ryan Goldman latched on to the name Gold Standard Barber Shop when he was planning his new enterprise.  A friend told him he thought that was it, and the name stuck.

A native of Albion, Ill., located in the southeast portion of the state, Goldman graduated from Lockhart’s Barber College, Decatur, in 2018.

“I have a family member who lives here, and they let me stay with them while I was going to school,” Goldman said.  “I noticed that Clinton had a calling for a new barber.”

Goldman said he decided to open a shop if he could find a good spot on the square.

Barber colleges, including Lockhart’s, are positioning themselves to revitalize the downtown barber tradition.  Barbers have become increasingly more popular among young men, who look for styles and services barbers specialize in.

Goldman landed a location on the south west portion of Mr. Lincoln’s Square.

“It’s gone really well for me so far.”

Gold Standard Barber Shop is located in a building occupied for many years by Quimby Drugs, later a doctor’s office and a dance studio.

Local barbering history is something Goldman has made a point to learn about, becoming acquainted with the other local barbers and learning about a former barber in his own building.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Jack Wickenhauser, who was on the back part of my shop,” Goldman said.

He hopes the name of his shop also will remind people of his name, Goldman.

“It just popped into my head, and I told a friend about it, and he said, ‘you know, that’s it’.”

Goldman graduated from barber college in March 2018 and became licensed in April.  He worked for a couple of months at a shop in Champaign and then came to Clinton in July.

“I always had Clinton in the back of my mind,” he said.  “This building came available, and I jumped on the opportunity.”

He feels, too, that he is helping to revitalize the square.

“I’ve had people come in to say they wanted to support a local business, to help me out and wish me good luck,” Goldman said.  “It has really been a warm welcome, more than I even expected.”

Goldman is in his seventh week of business, and he already is preparing to add a second chair.  He said it was sometimes difficult to take care of customers and handle all of his other duties at the shop.

“I’m cutting as much hair as I possibly can.”

An increasing number of high school kids have come into Goldman’s shop.  He said it started with parents bringing their kids in.

“And, it’s kind of taken off from there,” he said.

Some of the teenage boys who haven’t used a barber before are sometime warry of the new experience.  Many have never seen a barber use a straight razor for trimming around ears and shaving the backs of necks.

Goldman hopes to help fill a shortage of barbers.

“You just can’t always find a barber anymore.”

Illinois has one barber to every 20 cosmetologists statewide.

He said his hometown Albion no longer has any barbers.

“The old guys are all gone, now.”

Goldman feels he’s continuing an American tradition and he looks forward to running his shop and serving his clients.

“There aren’t many doing the classic style anymore.”


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