RUMFORD — People seeking one last haircut from Congress Street barber Alvin Prevost have until 5 p.m. Friday.
That’s when Rumford’s barber of 53 years retires for good and closes Al’s Barbershop, which he’s already sold to beautician and hairstylist Lisa Cormier.
In fact, Prevost, 75, said Thursday afternoon while cutting Rumford resident Eddie Shurtleff’s hair, that he has even sold his furniture and home in Rumford.
“I can’t wait to retire,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it a long time.”
“I always told my son that when I turned 75, I’m going to retire and, son of a gun, I did turn 75 and I retired,” he said.
While he does plan to do some traveling, right now, he’s only going as far as Lewiston.
“My son has an apartment house there and an apartment for me, and the rent is very nice — it’s free — and I said, ‘I love that word,'” Prevost said.
Shurtleff said he thought Thursday was his favorite barber’s last day and decided to wait until the last minute of it to pop in for a trim and conversation.
“I’ve cut Eddie’s hair since he was a baby,” Prevost said while trimming tufts of white hair from Shurtleff’s head before moving on to Shurtleff’s eyebrows.
One young man with very short hair walked in 4:35 p.m. and sat down to wait for a trim. He didn’t have long to wait.
Shurtleff checked out his “new do” in the mirror, ran a hand through it and said, “Now, I don’t have to comb it for another month.”
After paying for the trim and leaving a tip, Shurtleff told Prevost, “Have a good retirement.”
With Oprah chatting it up on a nearby television, the young man sat in the barber chair and Prevost went to work to provide a military-style haircut.
Three men walked in at 4:45 p.m., promptly sat down and proceeded to rib Prevost, who opened up about his past.
Prevost said he was born in Rumford on Falmouth Street in a house beside Aubuchon’s Hardware store. He joined the Navy and served his country from 1952 to 1955 “when you could buy cigarettes for 8 cents a pack aboard ship.”
After working nearly a year in Rumford’s paper mill, he said his sister urged him to become a barber in 1956, which he did after attending barber school on Lisbon Street in Lewiston.
He opened his first barbershop at the corner of Pine Street and Oxford Avenue in 1956, charging 50 cents a haircut. That’s grown over the years to his current $11 price.
Three years later, he moved into the Congress Street shop.
In addition to running Al’s Barbershop, Prevost said he made “house calls” to area nursing homes. He said he did haircuts for 40 years for residents at Rumford Community Home and and did the same for 30 years for residents at the Victorian Villa Rehabilitation and Living Center in Canton.
“I’ve been around the clock a couple of times and must have done 400,000 going on 500,000” haircuts, he said. “Now, I’m all done. It’s the end of an era.”
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