Not far from Western Kentucky University sets an unassuming barbershop that has stood the test of time. Dye’s Barbershop on Old Morgantown Rd. has been in operation since its opening in the 1950's.

Edwin “Ed” Dye rented out the feed room of a local grocery store to begin his barbershop. He worked there until he built his own shop with the help of his family and friends in 1957, which is now known as Dye's Barbershop, directly across the street from the one he initially rented. Ed ran the shop up until his retirement in 1990. When he died in 2000, David Dye, Ed’s nephew, took owenership over the shop.

Ben Bradley, 81, gets his hair cut in Dye's barbershop on a Wednesday afternoon. Bradley has been coming Dye's barbershop for over 40 years. Most of the time when he comes in he doesn't even have to say what he wants done David just gets to work.

Mike O'Leary took his grandson, Owen, for a haircut with strict orders from Owen's mom to "make sure they don't cut off the curls." Owen made sure to get a sucker before he left. "I've been coming here for while so i knew that they would do a good job," O'Leary said.

“I helped build the shop, we sheeted it and blacked it in,” David said. “I was 15 years old.”

David started working in the shop when he was 23 in 1965 and has been there ever since. David has cut some of the same people’s hair for over 40 years. They keep coming back, time after time to see him.

"My daddy went here because he knew David and he brought me here. He has always taken good care of us"

-Jim Denison, customer of over 30 years

When David was 18 years old he was faced with the choice of going to the coal mines or finding something to do in town. He chose barber school and hasn't looked back.

A watchful whitetail deer looks over the barbershop and its visitors. Promptly placed next to pictures of family and a rack of chips. Dye's is one of the places in town that you can buy and ice cold coke and bag of chip for a dollar. "They don't even service the coke machine anymore but I still like to keep it stocked," David said.

After being open for 67 years, the shop has had plenty of time to build its character. The walls are covered in pictures of the Dye family, bluegrass celebrities, license plates, loyal customers and mounted deer heads. There is no space spared on the small shops’ walls, which shows evidence of how much the shop means to the surrounding community.

The waiting chairs are from Western Kentucky University’s Van Meter Hall when it was remodeled in 1967. A professor from the school at the time asked Ed if he wanted some of the chairs and they have been a staple of the shop ever since.

“When I came to work here there was nothing but a gravel road,” David said.

Some people don't come in to get there hair cut they come to sit and chat. David is always ready to have a conversation with a friendly face.

Each of the barbers at Dye's has a hand made name plate above their mirror. "David is one of the greatest men if have ever met," Marnie said. Marnie is an esthetician by trade and is a family friend of the Dye's and when she lost her previous job she came to work in the barbershop.
"I'm a lot slower than I used to be," David said. "If it wasn't for this chair I don't know what I'd do."
Despite moving slower than he used to, David still gets around. He is part of a bluegrass band that practices every week in the shop. The group takes gigs in Kentucky and northern Tennessee, performing at festivals and churches alike. David has played music for over 40 years. He spends his weekends mowing the grass, working on his classic car and spending time with his music.

Every Thursday at about 6 o'clock David and his bluegrass band gets together to practice their sets. The group will go on "pickin' and grinnin'" for hours at a time well into the night.

"Old age don't have no mercy on anyone," David said.

When David went to barber school when he was 18, it cost him a grand total of $750. That included all his tools as well, including clippers, combs and products. Now, the average cost of barber school is about $10,000 according to National Barbers Insurance.

After 59 years of working in the same barbershop David’s age is starting to catch up with him. He stands on a floor mat to ease the pain of standing and when he is not cutting hair he is sitting in his chair.

“I used to be able to stand all day no problem, but now I can’t stand more than a few hours,” David said.

David always lets Marnie and Bradley go to lunch first so he holds down the first until they get back. David goes all over town lunch from home cooking to pizza there is no telling what her will eat in a week.

"I've been doing this for 59 years, I hope I'm okay at it."

-David Dye

David doesn’t plan to stop cutting hair anytime soon. If you go to Dye’s barbershop, Monday through Friday, he will be there cutting hair in the middle chair and whistling while he works.

"Hey you be safe now." "Come back now." "Have good day." "Come back now ya hear?" These are just few of the thing that David might say when customers leave. It just adds to the charm of the place," Marnie said.

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