Roger Blais relaxes at his station between clients at Roger’s Haircutters in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Roger Blais relaxes at his station between clients at Roger’s Haircutters in Auburn. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A half-century ago, a U.S. postage stamp cost 6 cents, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” won the Grammy’s Album of the Year and Roger Blais started cutting hair.

In 2018, Blais is still at it.

On the eve of Roger’s Haircutters weeklong open house that starts tomorrow, where stylists are encouraging the public to stop by at the downtown Auburn location and reminisce, we asked Blais some questions, including what keeps him going, his favorite what-were-we-thinking hair trend, and his advice to a new salon owner.

Name: Roger L. Blais

Age: 70

Lives: Auburn

Fifty years is a long time. Three attributes you credit with helping your streak?

 Timing: I came into the business when hair design was changing, i.e., a typical man’s haircut that hasn’t evolved much since the early ’60s was in full transformation. Styling for men was starting to be an excepted norm, including razor cutting and basic blow drying. Men’s barber stylists were evolving into women’s cutting and styling.

Staff: Due to the chemistry, dedication, talent and entrepreneurial spirit that the original staff, from Keiko (the first employee) to the staff now, I have been blessed since the very beginning. We together built something special.

Family: My father and grandfather were my guiding lights and inspiration to start the business. Learning the initial trade from my grandfather, I was set up early in my career with learning from a master barber, from chair etiquette, client dedication and craft.

Perks of the job? Talking with my clients, whom I all consider friends.

Most interesting story told in your chair: Most are told in confidence — a barber is also a poor man’s psychiatrist.

Most interesting request: Many years ago, a strange request came from a client through his lawyer. Seems that he was arrested for a very serious crime. So he needed a haircut, I heard through a request by his lawyer, that would probably help this case. I had to go to Cumberland County Jail. Since the client was also an old friend, I agreed. I’d never been in a jail before — I was not too excited about going. I was let into a larger room that contained an inner cell where he sat in the chair, handcuffed, with two armed guards. So that was probably the most interesting and bizarre request I got from a client.

Any challenges or other offers ever come along that tempted you to hang up the scissors? Outside of small business ownership and the challenges associated. . . . This has been my calling and no desire to leave it at anytime soon.

Style that makes you look back and say “What-were-we-thinking?” The mullet, and some of the clothes that went with it. Have to say that I’m guilty.

Today’s big beards and stylized mustaches, yeah or nay? Absolutely. I love it. The blend of the new and old combined. Great styles — however, difficult haircuts for non-trained barbers.

Advice to someone opening a salon in 2018: Associate yourself with a salon that does training and inspires you to learn — which is the basic ingredient to succeed in this business now as it was when I started.

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