Desoto Palace Barber Shop in Arcadia is celebrating its 100th anniversary of continuous operation. The owner says she believes it is the oldest barber shop in the state. It relies on small town charm to bring back customers.
"We have customers who've come here for more than 40 years. I am cutting the hair of the grandchildren of people who used to come here to my grandfather for cuts, many years ago," says Robin West, the 3rd-generation owner of the place.
Barber Donald Collier says the shop has a relaxed, family-style atmosphere. People come in and talk about their hobbies, their jobs, their problems. "It really is like being with your family. Nobody is a stranger here," Collier tells WINK News.
The shop opened on March 9, 1913. It originally was the Palace shop, then later merged with Desoto barbers. The state of Florida does not have records going back to 1913 relating to barber shops. But West says, her research shows her place is the oldest in the state.
"We have so much fun here, so many good conversations. We tell stories and we talk about news events, which can be comforting to people in difficult times," West says.
The shop is holding a big celebration the morning of Saturday, March 9. It will have cake, and lots of comaraderie. Everyone is welcome.