Note: Doug Gregonis was (my husband) Eddie Montgomery's barber from the fall of 1968 (when Eddie returned to Hannibal from service with the U.S. Air Force) until Eddie's death at the end of January 2017. Today I post this story in honor of Doug, who died May 19, 2018. Doug was my Eddie's loyal and true friend.
Hannibal Courier-Post archives
June 20, 1998
Doug Gregonis has been barbering a long time, almost 30 years in Hannibal. And in that time, names and faces might change, but the elements of the barber shop cling fast to their roots. Barbers, like Gregonis, become confidants to men, along with barbs for each other's jokes. But every barber that decides to set up his own shop takes a risk. Will customers come? Will the business succeed? In Gregonis' case, the answer is a resounding yes.
"I got a loan from Roy Goodhart, and if it wasn't for Roy I wouldn't be here. I'll never forget him for that," he said of starting his practice several years ago.
"When I started, short hair was in style, then it went long, and now it's going back the other way," he said.
A gift for gab and the ability to tell - and take - a good joke seem paramount to success in the barbering industry, and Gregonis seems well suited to both.
Gregonis pauses while cutting Dave Damron’s hair, to engage in a little bantering with Bill Harris of Center, Mo., who is waiting for his turn in the chair. Harris said he has been coming to Gregonis for 15 or 20 years. “I used to get my hair cut by Sam Leake, and when he quit, I started going to Doug,” he said.
As his turn arrived, Harris slid back in the chair for a shampoo and a joke or two.
A rarity for many barber shops, Gregonis works by appointment only.
Bob Alexander breaks out in a laugh after having a discussion with the barber about the number of cats he owns. “Who needs that many cats?” Alexander wondered.
Contrary to belief, men are not the only ones visiting the barber shop these days. Here, Mary Sparks admired her new cut in the mirror. Sparks liked her current hairstyle, but wanted her hair tapered in the back, which Gregonis accomplished in a few minutes. “It feels wonderful,” Sparks said with a smile as she ran her hand through her hair.