Shorty’s barbershop celebrates 90 years in New Boston

By Ryan Ottney

October 23, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

NEW BOSTON — From the slicked back hairstyles of the roaring 1920s to the long and wavy styles popular today, Shorty’s barbershop has cut them all. This year the small barbershop is celebrating 90 years in New Boston, and they’re still keeping things small and simple.

James “Shorty” Mowery first opened Shorty’s barbershop in 1923 on Harrisonville Avenue, near Spruce Street, in New Boston; but moved it down the street several years later. In about 1950, Mowery moved again — this time to Shorty’s current location on Harrisonville Avenue near the village limits line. In the 1960s, Mowery sold the business to barber Jerry Dodd, who kept it running in the tiny shop until he sold it to Drew Rucker in March of 2007. Dodd passed away several months later, leaving the legacy of Shorty’s in Rucker’s barber seat.

“Everybody knows Shorty’s. It’s just a hometown barbershop, and one of the few that’s survived,” Rucker said. “I think we just try to treat everybody good and welcome them here.”

Originally from Clarktown, Rucker had no previous experience as a barber or owning a barber shop before Shorty’s. But after graduating from barber school, he knew immediately where he wanted to be.

“I came in here as a kid, and I knew it was a well-established shop. I knew it was probably one of the busier shops in the area. I wanted to be a part of that because I knew it was a good shop,” Rucker said. “I’ve thought about expanding, but at the same time I hate to do that. I want to leave it the same atmosphere it’s been for the history of this shop.”

But Rucker did make a few changes in the small, one-room barbershop on Harrisonville Avenue.

“We totally gutted the place and remodeled it. I’ve tried to make it more of a man cave type thing. I tried to paint it the Ohio State theme (red and gray colors), but it also matches the New Boston team and I wanted to match that up. I’ve tried to keep everything the same,” Rucker said.

Rucker also hired a new barber, Jeff Nelson, last week to help out. He said he believes Nelson will do a good job living up to the legacy of Shorty’s.

For more information and shop hours, find Shorty’s barbershop on Facebook.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.