Two Gahanna barbers with a combined 109 years experience of cutting hair are cutting back on their commitments.

Jim Allen has worked at the Royal Plaza Barbershop, 89 N. Stygler Road, since February 1964.

He followed the path of his grandfather, who also was a barber.

Allen officially retires May 17 but said he would help out in case of scheduling emergencies at Royal Plaza.

Jerry McIntosh said he had five years of experience working at other Gahanna shops before opening Jerry's Barber Shop, 83 Granville St., in August 1968.

He said he knew he liked people and wanted to be around people when he decided to become a barber.

"It was an honorable profession at the time," said McIntosh, who retired earlier this month.

McIntosh, 75, attended school at what was Andrews Barber School in Columbus.

"I worked 1 1/2 years in the public (and) then took the master barber exam," he said.

Because Gahanna is close to John Glenn Columbus International Airport, McIntosh said, his clients included presidents of corporations, mayors and professional wrestlers.

He said he has cut the hair of many high-profile people who are in front of the public in their jobs.

"They have to look good," McIntosh said.

Early in his career, he said, a person would starve if he or she didn't know how to cut a flat-top.

Later, "I went back to school to know how to do longer hair," McIntosh said.

The flat-top cut was popular in the early 1960s, but styles changed after the British Invasion brought the Beatles into the United States.

McIntosh said a haircut cost $1.25 when he started barbering.

He said he cut back to working two days a week eight years ago.

"I was practicing for retirement," McIntosh said. "I'm leaving it in good hands."

He sold his business to Jenny Beck in 2007.

"I think he thought he would have retired before this," she said. "I think the majority of his customers are his friends."

McIntosh, a Jefferson Township resident, said he looks forward to playing a lot more golf and traveling.

Allen, 73, attended the Ohio State College of Barber Styling.

"I went 7 1/2 months, six days a week," he said. "I stayed at a rooming house where Grant Hospital is at. School and room and board cost $1,500."

He said the cost of a haircut was $1.75 when he started, whereas today it's $13.

"I'd call it economical for what other shops get," Allen said. "We straighten up a lot of $20 to $30 haircuts."

As he saw styles come and go, he said, he disliked the bowl cut the most.

"Every time I cut one, I thought, 'What are you thinking?' " he said.

Allen said his customers have come from all over, even as far away as Brownsville in eastern Licking County.

Westerville's Jacob Blaz, a student at Alcott Elementary School, goes to Royal Plaza because, his mother said, he's "very particular" about his haircuts.

Jacob calls his style a comb-

over, but Allen refers to it as a fade.

Allen sold his business last year to Phung Do because family members didn't want to take it over.

Allen said he has one son who is a barber and another son who was a barber before his death.

He also has a sister who works as a beautician in Cambridge and a brother who is a barber in Mansfield.

"We've always been a walk-in shop, and that's the way she (Phung) will keep it," he said.

Allen said he earlier cut back to working two days a week because he moved to Cambridge, where he was raised and resides now.

He said he looks forward to traveling and working in the yard, but he already misses barbering.

"They're really not customers anymore, but my friends," he said.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla