Al is No Tortoise with the “Hair”
by Cate Murway
The 1880′s to the 1940′s were most likely the golden age
for barbershops, a time when men socialized
in all male hangouts, and the barbershops
just may have rivaled the area saloons in popularity.
Men would stop in not only for a haircut and a shave,
but also to fraternize with friends and just generally to “chew the fat”.
One of the first blows to barbershops may have been on November 15, 1904, when patent #775,134 was granted to the traveling salesman, King Camp Gillette for a safety 'razor' and he began mass marketing. Their advertisements touted the razor as more economical and convenient than visiting the barbershop.
In 1891, William Painter, the inventor of the Crown Cork bottle cap, the first form of bottle cap and first highly successful disposable product, assured Gillette that a truly successful invention was one that was purchased over and over again by satisfied customers.
At that time, technical experts advised Gillette that it would just about be impossible to produce steel that was hard, thin, and inexpensive enough for the commercial development of a disposable razor blade. But in 1901, MIT graduate engineer, William E. Nickerson agreed to try, and by 1903, he perfected the idea and succeeded.
Nevertheless, men still needed a place to hobnob with buddies and just generally to “chew the fat”. And what about conversations about politics, cars, sports, and family?
Barbershops are among America’s last civic bastion of manliness forums and men still need traditions that can help bond them together.
Guys can read the newspapers, check out the magazines and comment on current events and the barbers are always interesting guys with interesting stories to tell; just great haircuts and great conversation.
When you walk out of the barbershop with a sharp haircut, bet you can’t help but feel a bit of a swagger creep into your step.
The corner of Jefferson and Pond was once home to a Tydol Flying “A” Gas Station and then later a Fritz's world-famous German Stickybuns Bakery. Since taking ownership, June 2010, “Al’s Upper Cuts” has succeeded in its efforts to create a relaxed barbershop atmosphere and a great haircut at a reasonable price.
There are two chairs in this peppy, classic, real neighborhood barbershop and the cost is just $10.00 if you are a Bristol Borough student with ID and Al offers Senior Citizen discounts.
They have a friendly, community-feeling atmosphere, upbeat music, and a good magazine selection if you have to wait [never too long!]
Saturday, November the 26th was their 1st Annual Customer Appreciation day. Al and his manager/ barber/ friend, Webb offered a free turkey roast along with free drinks.
Alcides Gabriel “Al” Loran, III specializes in trendy, designer haircuts, Brooklyn Fade, Blow Outs and Razor Outlines, and all styles for the family. You will get $3.00 off the price of a haircut if you bring a new customer with yourself. Webster Alanza “Webb” Adams, BHS ’03 manages the shop and mans the 2nd chair.
Al and his younger sister, Tiara were raised in New Jersey by their parents, Alcides Gabriel, Jr., a general foreman at an Amtrak train yard in the NYC area and Lillian Loran, who works for an insurance agency.
Al’s dad used to cut his hair in the basement but Al, III is the first professional barber in his family.
He wrestled, was catcher on the baseball team, “knees are still good, so far” and was a member of the Art Honor Society. He originally aspired for a career in the graphic design disciplines and attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia. He would cut hair in the dorms just for pocket money.
His creativity was satiated when he found he could create fresh new graphic haircut designs, “hair murals”.
He made his dream work by attending the Levittown Beauty Academy, a premier cosmetology school and he served an apprenticeship with a New Jersey barber.
He and his wife, Casey Gallagher-Loran and their five children reside in the Borough. Casey is employed at the childcare center at Pennco Tech, the career training school.
Al enjoys all types of music and especially, time with his family.
His biggest hobby though, “I’m a gym rat”, is partaking in muscle building and strength training at PT Transformations Gym on Mill Street.
He claims, “I’m a pretty good cook” but they do enjoy, Sushi Bento Japanese Steak House, “the sushi place on Mill Street”.
The Loran family is “cutting” out a space for themselves in Bristol.
This Saturday's child works hard for a living.
“Al’s Upper Cuts” is high energy and a most economical choice. The clients are smiling.
And one never knows, but a man can make his fortune by thinking hard when he looks at himself in the mirror in the morning, so look your best for the holidays and every day.
The barbershop has remained an important gathering place in the lives of many men throughout history.
Walk-ins are welcome, but making an appointment is best if you want to plan for a cut.
Al’s Upper Cuts
927 Pond Street
Bristol, PA 19007
Monday- Appointments only
Tuesday- Friday 9:30 AM- 6:00 PM
Saturday- 9:00 AM- 3:00 PM
Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org