Behind the chair: Brothers in business
By Kris Leonhardt
Continued from Jan. 24 edition:
“Our name has been barbering in Marshfield since 1938,” says Jerry Schalow. “Between the four of us – my dad has passed away and Russ passed away, Dick retired, and I am still barbering – we have about 200 years of barbering between us.”
The business operated by the Schalow brothers and their father Merlin “Shorty” Schalow once included two locations – a Marshfield shop and one in the country between Marshfield and Stratford.
“They had one out in the country, like a second location, where I grew up on (State Highway) 97,” said Russ’ daughter, Karen Olson. “Where (County Highway) C goes to Rozellville, it’s the next place (to the north.) There are ponds and there is a house. The driveway that goes up, not the first driveway, but go to the next place – there was a house that burned down. (The barber shop) was in the front of the house.”
Once Jerry was finished working at the shop in Marshfield, he would head out to the country shop to finish the day.
“When we worked out there, there were times it was until 11 p.m. at night,” recalls Jerry.
Schalow said that the family kept the two shops operating for about 10 years.
“When my dad retired, that ended that,” Jerry added. “He retired when he was about 63 years old. He started barbering at 19 years old.”
“My dad (Russ) was a little older when he started (barbering,)” said Olson. “Maybe in his late 20s.”
“Russ started with me out of barber school,” said Schalow. The two worked together for a time, until Russ purchased a shop on Fifth Street.
“My dad went to barber school in Rockford in 1960 and then worked for 18 years with his dad and Jerry, then purchased his own shop, The Prim Trim, in 1978, retiring in 1996 due to health issues,” Olson recalled.
“Dick left and went to Monona Grove, outside of Madison. He barbered there quite a few years. Then, he retired at about 62-65. He is living in South Carolina now,” added Jerry.
In 1958, the original 205 N. Central Ave. barber shop received a facelift, with a build on that still serves as Jerry’s shop.
At 87 years old, the barber shop is the only job Jerry has ever known, but for a short stint at Weinbrenner shoe factory that lasted less than a year.
Next week: Barbering and the Beatles
For Part I of this series, click here.