For decades, Glendale residents and visitors to the Jewel City sought the grooming expertise of Ernie Lind, owner of Ernie’s Barber Shop, near Scholl Canyon. But after more than 60 years with clippers and scissors in hand, he recently gave his final haircut.
The shop opened in 1955 on the corner of Glenoaks Boulevard and Chevy Chase Drive and has been there ever since.
Today, Lind’s failing health has made cutting hair a physical burden, so he decided to retire, but not until his final customer sat in his barber chair — his son Rick, who at 8 months old was also his first customer. But it almost didn’t end that way.
“I was in the shop, and my dad was cutting some guy’s hair and [he] says to me, ‘This is my last haircut. I’m done. I’m tapping out,’” Rick Lind said. “Then I tell him he can’t quit on this guy. It’s got to be your first customer. It’s gotta be me.”
Ernie Lind gave his son a “gentleman’s” haircut. However, he didn’t finish the appointment — he left the final trim in the hands of the man who will run the shop going forward, his grandson Zach Lind.
“I would like to see it run just the way I ran it,” Ernie Lind said. “I’m sure that’s what [Zach] will do. He is very outgoing, a good barber and good personality.”
Although Rick Lind sought a different profession — as a chiropractor practicing in Orange County — he essentially grew up in the barber shop, sweeping, mopping — and shining shoes on Sundays.
He recalled several stories about the shop where his father made a career for himself.
Rick Lind said his father used his passion for sports to expand his customer base. He created and played on several local sports teams. Then, after practices or games, he would invite team members over to his shop for a haircut.
The buzz quickly traveled about Ernie Lind’s hair-cutting skills.
“In the late ’50s, early ’60s, flat tops became very popular, and Ernie would cut the entire USC, UCLA, football, basketball and baseball teams,” Rick Lind said. “Coaches and all would line up at the door, and barbers would come watch my dad do flat tops because nobody did them better than him in town.”
Wherever he went with his father, Rick Lind said it was almost guaranteed a customer would recognize the well-known barber and say hello, even during a trip to Hawaii.
Rick Lind said he himself cut hair only once, when a hurried customer begged for a haircut, which cost only $2, but he offered $20 if he could get the cut done immediately. His father was away from the shop and couldn't be found, so Rick Lind said he mimicked his father as best he could but kept it simple.
It took Rick Lind 20 years to tell his father about the secret haircut.
Ernie Lind laughed when he found out.