East Texas Barber Still Cutting After 50 Years - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/29/04-Flint

East Texas Barber Still Cutting After 50 Years

"I asked him if he wanted a haircut and he said sure I do. So I gave him a haircut."

That was Levell Rhode's first day as a barber. Back then he was just ten years old. Now, at 81 he's doing the same thing, but with a little more skill, and much longer list of clients.

"I usually try to do about ten to twelve everyday. I start at 7:30 in the morning, so I have a pretty steady day," says Levell.

Levell got into business back in 1945, he "retired" 15 years ago, but never put down his scissors. With so many stylist to choose from today, some wonder, what keeps his customers coming back? "I've wondered that myself sometimes," he says. "Maybe it's the price or the service."

June Bryant, a client of 35 years, says it's both.

"It's the best deal around as far as I'm concerned. I get wonderful service and of course he's such a fantastic operator, he gives marvelous haircuts. He has a good many customers he's had for 30 or 40 years. Some of them have even gone to the nursing home. Several of them still come out here," she says.

"We have customers coming from Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Jacksonville, Carthage, all around," says Levell.

Some even come in from Dallas and Houston. Along the way, Levell's had training from some of the top hair stylist in Texas and the nation.

"I went to a six week course taught by an international stylist in Dallas. And I've had Sassoon lessons."

But if you ask about his 59 year success story, don't expect him to brag.

"Well I'm not perfect, no. That was kind of a loaded question. I just cut it the way it grows."

Booked solid for the rest of the day, Levell says he has no plans to "retire" again anytime soon, something his clients are happy about.

"We've been friends for so long I wouldn't think of giving him up," says June Black.

"I've tried other things but I've always come back to this," Levell.

Reporting: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com

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