Sunday, December 15th, was a day of celebration for Port Elgin’s Eby family.
Not only was it Blair Eby’s 50th birthday, it was also the 125th anniversary of the Eby Barber Shop of Port Elgin, where four generations of Eby men have cut the hair of thousands of local men.
As hair trends come and go, it isn’t often today that you see a traditional barber shop but, on the main street of Goderich in Port Elgin, Eby’s Barber Shop is still there. With the 1960s and the trend to long hair, it was a struggle but then, in the 1970s, Ontario Hydro workers moving into Port Elgin turned things around.
Started in 1894 by Hiram Eby, the tradition of barbering was carried on by his son Basil Sr., his twin sons Barrie and Basil Jr. and Barrie’s son Blair … four generations of barbers, all working together.
For years, those in Port Elgin knew the twins by their nicknames according to their chair locations … Barrie a.k.a. Windeby (chair by the window) and Basil Jr. a.k.a. Walleby (chair by the wall) and then along came Blair who ended up Wannerby (chair in the middle).
Now, 125 years later, Eby’s Barber Shop is still a fixture in Port Elgin.
MP Ben Lobb who attended the celebration held at the Port Elgin Legion and presented a certificate of celebration, said that “There are very few businesses that can say they have been around for 125 years. When I first ran for office in 2005 and came to Port Elgin, I went into Eby’s shop. My father was in business for 50 years and I know how hard he worked in times of high interest rates and recessions and when you think about 125 years, it is a real testament to the Eby family.”
Elizabeth Eby also introduced long-time family friend John Mann, sported an Eby t-shirt. “I remember coming into town with my grandfather and a highlight was finding Hiram Eby on a park bench and talking with him. My grandfather thought he was the best. The Eby(s) were extraordinary business men. It is rare to to find a business that has sustained for 125 years, anywhere in the world and especially that has remained in the immediate family. Eby’s Barber Shop has been a mainstay in the community and it’s families like this that make Port Elgin what it is today.”
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Earlier this year, Mayor Luke Charbonneau presented a ‘Certificate of Recognition’ to the Eby(s) for their 125 years as a Port Elgin business.