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Sapulpa barber in business for 56 years

Published on NewsOK Published: December 2, 2012

SAPULPA, Okla. (AP) — A man doesn't forget his first flattop.

If you're from Sapulpa, chances are the barber wielding the electric razor likely was Herb Carner, who has been cutting hair downtown for 56 years.

"There's only one person who gives a flattop in this town, and that's Herb," said Creek County Commissioner Newt Stephens, who was in the shop recently among several other men who were waiting for their turn in his chair. "I've had people in Broken Arrow ask where I got my flattop. When you get a good barber, you stick with him."

Getting the hair perfectly flat on top requires skill.

Carner uses both hands for the leveling work, then pulls out a straight razor to shave the hairline behind the ears.

He started cutting hair while he was still in high school, when he realized that he could make more in one day as a barber than the $5 a week he was paid in the hayfields.

He was an apprentice under another barber's license for two years, then passed the state board test and has cut hair ever since - starting at 75 cents.

"I've cut about everybody's hair in Creek County at one time," Carner said. "When we went to $1, people liked to have had a heart attack."

Charlie Nation said he was in high school in the '50s when Carner gave him his first flattop. But he prefers to keep his white hair a little longer these days.

Flattops are just one style that Carner has mastered over the years at a tiny shop sandwiched between an Italian restaurant and a bail bond agency across the street from the Creek County courthouse on the main drag, Dewey Avenue.

There's no sign - only a barbershop pole decal in the window.

But everyone knows where he is even if the shop doesn't have an official name. Over the years, people have called it the courthouse barbershop or Herb's barbershop.

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