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More than 'just a haircut' in Rock Falls

Alisa's Barber Shop has been trimming – and listening – for nearly 30 years

Published: Saturday, July 13, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Anne Hermes/Special to SVM)
Alisa Baxter, owner of Alisa's Barber Shop, gives one of her favorite regulars, father-in-law Warren Baxter of Rock Falls, "just a haircut." Alisa has been cutting hair for nearly 30 years at her shop in Rock Falls. It has a vintage vibe, from the chair to the Pinaud Talc she uses to finish up the trim, to her wooden-handled talc brush.
(Anne Hermes/Special to SVM)
Alisa's Barber Shop is at 816 12th Ave., Rock Falls, at the far north end of a tan metal building that also houses Johnson Services. It sits in a nook at the back of the blacktop lot, and is easy to miss if you don’t know where to look.
(Anne Hermes/Special to SVM)
Baxter's vintage barber chair.

ROCK FALLS – Don't try to make an appointment at Alisa's Barber Shop.

To get a cut, you have to line up in the parking lot like everyone else and wait your turn.

And remember, owner Alisha Baxter is a barber, not a stylist. No shampoo, and no shave.

Baxter has been “just cutting hair” for more than 27 years. When she bought the barber shop from Butch Altmans, a haircut was $2.

She laughs as she tells the story of two longtime customers who, 20 years ago, actually got into fist-a-cuffs over who was in the parking lot first. She calmed them with a gentle reminder that a haircut takes only a few minutes, and in the grand scheme of things, “What does 15 minutes change?” They each waited their turn.

Her customers, some loyal for all those 27 years, often tell her personal stories, some sad, some funny, some with more information than she needs to know – like “tales of penile implants and extracurricular activities.”

“I’ve seen more scars than I can count, both emotional and physical,” she said. “I could write a book!”

Baxter credits much of her success to her skill in listening carefully and asking lots of questions. She also makes house calls by appointment to group homes and for her housebound clients.

Now she's cutting the hair of the children of the children she has watched grow into adulthood. “There’s something very satisfying about that,” Baxter said.

“I have wrestled with the less-than-eager, first-timer’s haircut, and then cut that child’s hair until they’ve grown up and brought their children in for a first-time cut. It’s been rewarding to watch them grow and continue to come into the shop. They’re all like family to me.”

Need a haircut?

Alisa's Barber Shop, 816 12th Ave. in Rock Falls, is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Haircuts are $10, or $9 for seniors.

You can call her at 815-441-3232 – just not for an appointment.

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