In the four months that Harbour Barber was closed, Amanda Stocks says she couldn’t go anywhere without people asking her for a cut.
She recalls driving into Squamish Toyota with her truck where about 20 people, mostly staff, came from behind the front desk and created a makeshift bay for her to set up.
“They all took turns on the back of my tailgate, sat in a chair. I’d turn the chair around after to face the mirror,” the 54-year-old says. She also did home visits during the hiatus.
Stocks owned the Harbour Barber in Squamish for 13 years and was devastated when she received a notice that her building was being knocked down back in August. Given three months notice, it was tough to find a place — the cost of rent was high and she wanted to keep her $20 haircut prices the same.
“How do you keep those prices when rents are going up so astronomically,” she says. “I couldn’t find a place except for one in the mall but the rent was over $3,000 [a month].”
It was depressing, she says, adding she eventually asked Coun. Ted Prior for help. He offered her space in a mini storage saying “he didn’t want to lose her in the community.”
On Dec. 15, the Harbour Barber officially opened at its new location at #4-37792 Third Avenue. Stocks says people started walking in as soon as she put down the chairs. She’s built her clientele with word of mouth over the last 30 years.
Squamish is not the only place she owns a business in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor. Stocks first opened a Whistler shop in 1994, and then a second location in 1998. She also had a place in Pemberton for five years and finally opened in Squamish when she moved here in 2004.
The new place on Third Ave. is a lot smaller than she is used to — there are two chairs for cuts and she will no longer offer dye jobs or perms. Stocks is happy to stay in Squamish where she owns a boat anchored in McNabb Creek and even offers private cuts on board.
Stylists Julie Malcolm and Brenda Moore have been with Stocks for about 15 years and will continue carrying the torch at the new location.
Stocks calls them “the three silver foxes” and admits they have different taste in music from reggae to golden oldies, so depending on when you enter the vibe can be different.
Malcolm worked with Stocks in Whistler for 12 years as a single parent living in Brackendale.
“People from all over the world came through my chair,” she says. “It was such a rich experience and I was able to raise my kids.”
She likes the social situation in the barber shop with everyone from different age groups hanging out. “Before it just used to be men in the chairs, but now women are dropping in for a good haircut too.”
Malcolm is glad the Harbour Barber is back “sailing” in Squamish especially because it’s hard to “stay afloat.”
“Amanda goes out of her way to help people. She is so outrageous that she brings a spark into people’s lives,”Malcolm said.