September 12th, 2011

The Selby takes a look inside the home of New York artist Aaron Young [AO Newslink]

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Homey barbershop a legend

Winnipeg Free Press September 2, 2010 | Klowak, Sandy Favourite among 17 Wing personnel It’s easy to overlook Hair Force Barbers.

Tucked away in an unassuming brick building across the street from Winnipeg’s 17 Wing air force base, its existence is indicated only by a tattered, sun-bleached barber’s pole.

But the men of the military — and savvy civilians — know Hair Force Barbers is a great place for a shave, haircut and good company.

Owners Wally Choma and Terri Townsend have been in the barbering business together for almost 25 years and have run Hair Force Barbers for a decade, recently with the help of employee Becky Larsen. This cosy haven, jam-packed with history and friendly faces, is located outside the base and is independent of the air force, with whom they have a contract. in our site men s haircuts

Military memorabilia — photos, badges, bayonets and uniforms — plasters the walls of the small, homey shop. Townsend’s golden-doodle, Dolce, lounges on the floor. The friendly dog greets friends and customers — almost all of whom Townsend and Choma know by name.

Choma and Townsend love their job. It’s the people who make it special, they say.

“They’re a different clientele just because they’re world-travelled, they see some pretty nasty things,” said Townsend, who compared her job to that of a bartender lending an ear to customers. “Everyone comes in here and talks about everything, but there’s no politics.” In the barbershop, the rules of military life are suspended — no saluting necessary. It’s a place to unwind, debrief and be buddies. go to web site men s haircuts

“They’re all on equal footing — the general waits just as long as the private waits,” Choma said.

Choma’s model airplanes line the walls of the shop, among the other military treasures. Their memorabilia collection is extensive, given to the pair piece by piece by customers who come and go, leaving a bit of themselves for others to enjoy.

Choma and Townsend have developed a strong connection to their clients and the lives they lead. The two have been involved in several charity drives for troops overseas.

“They’ve made us a member of their community,” said Townsend. “You can’t help but get involved.” Even strangers passing through Winnipeg can appreciate the shop’s charm. Captain and Commanding Officer Kel Smith of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons in Virden has visited many a military barbershop, trying haircuts at Canadian Forces Base Halifax and CFB Esquimalt, among others. He said Winnipeg’s shop exceeds them all.

“I would say this is the best one in Canada. I’m really impressed,” Smith said. “All the things they had on the walls make you feel just at home.” In addition to the homey atmosphere, he said prices there can’t be beat: Men’s haircuts are $9, seniors and military pay only $7.50. Coffee is free.

Retired military man Rick Burke comes in every day for coffee and conversation. It’s the people here that keep him coming back.

“These people here are outstanding individuals,” he said, lounging in a waiting chair.

Not only that, their barbering services are excellent, he said.

“I cheated on her once,” Burke said, describing the time he tried a barber other than Townsend. “Never again,” he laughed.

Klowak, Sandy