The Wooten Barber Shop has been cutting hair by the University for 55 years, making it the longest-running independent business on The Drag.
The barbershop has been around since 1964, attracting people from all walks of life from both on and off campus. Current owner James Nelson has been at the barbershop since 1992. In 2000, he became the official owner of the shop and has been running it ever since.
“It’s a broad clientele here,” Nelson said. “(Everyone) from administrators to professors and TAs and every level of the University is a potential client for us.”
Throughout its 55 years of business, the barbershop’s classic feel has remained, Nelson said. He said despite having been reupholstered, the barber chairs are still the originals from the ‘60s. Nelson said his shop still offers traditional, old-fashioned barbershop services using the same type of tools from when they opened.
Barber Doug Fransen said he works with many students, such as those who come in looking for professional haircuts. He said he wants the barbershop to be a place for people to escape their everyday stresses.
“A part of their home is when they walk in here,” Fransen said. “They can put the stresses of school, their home life and their jobs aside for 25 minutes.”
Nelson said he tries to balance paying the high cost of rent on The Drag and making sure haircuts are affordable for students.
Biochemistry junior Michael Anderson, who has been coming to the barbershop to get his hair cut since freshman year, said the barbershop’s coupons contribute to the affordability of his haircuts.
“I know a lot of students who pay a lot more for haircuts,” Anderson said. “Occasionally (the Wooten) still (gives) coupons for three or four dollars off your next haircut, which gets people to keep coming back.”
In March, The Daily Texan reported that American Campus was planning a new student housing community to replace the Goodall Wooten building that houses the barbershop. Nelson said he’s had open conversations with the company about the construction and about expanding the shop.
Nelson said he projects the barbershop will be around for years to come.
“I call it ‘Wooten forever,’” Nelson said. “I don’t have an expiration date stamped on me.”