Barber shop owner cites struggles with city as reason for closing
Logan’s Barber Shop on the corner of Skinner and Robertson streets is closing after more than 50 years, after its owner decided to close shop following a two-year struggle with the city of Denton.
Leonard Logan opened the shop in the early 1960s, after operating a shop in another location. When he died in 1997 at age 76, he left Logan’s Barber Shop to his son, Leonard Logan Jr.
“I’m not happy about shutting down, but I think it’s time to go,” Leonard Logan Jr., 74, said.
The shop, which is normally buzzing with locals, is now empty. Boxes of memorabilia are scattered across the floor, and the Logan’s Barber Shop sign has been taken down.
The decision to close was hard, Logan said.
Logan, also known as Junior to his customers, said he started cutting hair when he was 17 years old.
“I finished barber college before I finished high school,” he said.
Over the years, the barber shop became a staple in the black community. It was also a social hub for customers to come in and chat about crime, politics, community events and any topics they felt like talking about.
Many of Logan’s patrons have been loyal customers since the 1960s and 1970s.
On Thursday, as Logan was in the process of packing up some of his belongings, many of his longtime customers told stories of how they used to hang out at the shop when they were younger. It was a time when their hair had little gray.
“There’s a lot of history in this building,” shop regular Jack Johnson said. “It’s really sad to see it go.”
Burkley Harkless said he began going to Logan’s in the 1960s, stopping by after his classes at what is now the University of North Texas.
“There was a time I used to come here every day,” he said. “This was the place to be and to hang out.”
With the closing of the shop, Logan said he’s putting the clippers down for good. He said he’s only cutting hair for a few people — his grandson and two elderly residents who need help with routine activities.
He said many of his customers have tried to persuade him to stay because no one cuts hair like he does.
“I want them to know that I’m sorry, but I have to go,” he said. “They complain that other shops don’t cut hair like mine, but the great thing about hair is that it grows back. If they mess up, try again next week.”
What will Logan miss the most about his shop?
“The people. The people are what I’ll miss the most,” he said. “I don’t do this for money. The shop never made a lot. I only make enough to pay my shop’s rent and utilities.”
Before retiring, Logan worked for 22 years as a security officer for Texas Woman’s University to pay the bills while also working at the barber shop.
Conflicts arose between Logan and the city about two years ago, Logan said.
The building is owned by an organization called the Masonic Lodge, he said. And though it’s one building, it has at least two tenants — each with a separate address — Logan’s is at 619 Skinner St. and the second tenant is at 407 Robertson St.
The owner of the Robertson Street address receives the water bill for the entire building, and in an attempt to pay his share of the bill, Logan hit a few obstacles.
The most recent roadblock happened when Logan’s shop failed a building inspection, which led to the water service being shut off.
“The issue is that the building does not have a current certificate of occupancy and no one can find an old [certificate] either,” said Kurt Hansen, manager of the building inspection division.
Hansen said the city’s code enforcement officers check to make sure that commercial buildings and businesses have current certificates of occupancy and if a business changes its name, or owners, the business is required to get a new certificate before city customer service will give them service.
Logan’s father’s certificate of occupancy became invalid after he died and left the shop to his son.
Logan said the entire process has been overwhelming. And, according to city documents from this year, city officials even referred to Logan’s shop as a new business.
“A new business? You call 60 years old new?” Logan said. “I just wanted a new connection that would allow me to pay my own bills. It was a small thing that turned into a two-year struggle. And now they turned off my water.”
Hansen said the city is working with the owners of the building to mitigate the issues.
“I realize that this is an overwhelming task ... but I think we will be able to proceed and get the water back on soon,” he said.
Hansen said that some owners of older structures fear certificate of occupancy inspections because of the potential of being required to repair code issues. He said some required repairs can be costly even though the inspectors try to work with the owners as much as possible to help them obtain their certificates and still ensure a safe structure for the public.
However, changes in city ordinances in building regulations and an aging building proved too much to maintain at his age, Logan said.
And he said he feels the process should be easier, considering that the business was given to him by his father.
Logan’s wife, Freddie Logan, said it was easy to see how hard the struggle was on her husband.
“You could see how much it bothered him,” she said. “He’s been talking about closing the shop for two years — ever since we started having the problems.”
She said it was a relief when he finally decided to close the shop, which she refers to as a historic building.
“We knew it was coming,” she said. “I think it’s a good idea because it’s been hard trying to keep up with the maintenance on the building, too. He looks happier now.”
But Logan said he believes the conflicts are a sign from God, signaling that it’s time to quit.
Logan is a recovering alcoholic and 33 years sober. He said his life turned around for the better once he began putting his faith in God.
“You have to listen to what God is telling you,” he said. “If things aren’t working out no matter how hard you try, then God is trying to send you a message to move on because he probably has something better waiting for you. I’m too old to be ignoring God.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.