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Standing the Test of Time

Advance Barber Shop Enjoys Long History

Writer / Matt Keating
Photographer / Jon Ellegood

Amanda Mitchell, owner of Advance Barber Shop, is proud to be running a business that has been around for more than a century.

Advance Barber Shop first opened in 1917,” Mitchell says. Its always been called Advance Barber Shop. Thats a really long time for one business to have the same name. We are really well-known in the community.”

The business has a rich history according to Mitchell.

Men used to come to the barbershop on their horses, tie them up to a post, get a shower, and then then get a haircut for nine cents,” Mitchell says. It was a big tradition.”

Advance Barber ShopThe shop also has a connection with the hit 1986 film Hoosiers” starring Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper.

A lot of the equipment in Advance Barber Shop was used in Hoosiers,’” Mitchell says. “There is a barbershop in the movie, and our barber chair, mirror, benches and even our fly swatter were all used as props in the movie. People still get a very big kick out of that.”

Mitchell took over the business from the previous owner, Ron Rolston.

I was very fortunate to know him,” Mitchell says. I was able to work with him for a few years. He saw a lot of potential in me and I learned a lot from him. He died of COVID-19, but a lot of people in Advance and the nearby areas still remember him and have a lot of kind things to say about him.”

Mitchell has kept much of what people love about the business, but still found a positive way to modernize it.

I bought it and renovated it,” she says. I had a lot of help from my grandpa, Don Starcher, when I took over the shop. My grandpa and I still take Rons wife Sharon to Dover Christian Church. Shes a good friend. The barbers chair that my grandma sat in as a kid is still here.”

Mitchell enjoys working with her clients and getting to know them.

Ive had a lot of return customers, which means a lot to me,” she says. They are very loyal. There was once a lot of work being done on the water lines out in front of the shop, and people just walked over boards to get in here.”

Mitchell says she has been doing hair for 15 years.

I went to Aveda cosmetology school, which is one of the top-10 cosmetology schools in North America,” Mitchell says. I wanted to learn as much as I can. I used to work in downtown Indianapolis, and I still have a lot of the same clients from Indianapolis, and from around the state of Indiana, who come to see me. I still do womens hair, and Ive been able to make people very happy when they are here and when they leave.”Advance Barber Shop

Mitchell, who also serves on the Advance Town Council, does a lot to promote the town.

We have a great area here, with Jawbone BBQ next door, and a lot of the WAM of Advance after-school program kids do a lot to help the area,” she says. “They are all helping our old town come to life. People care about the generations of families here and do what they can to make things better for everyone. We all have a motive and desire to help this town. I love being a part of it and seeing all of the great people here.”

To find out more about Advance Barber Shop, located at 106 Main Street in Advance, Indiana, call 765-577-1182.

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