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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Longtime barber Mike Tabit joins crew at Hot Rod Barber Shop

UPDATED: Tue., Nov. 24, 2020

After cutting hair for 53 1/2 years at Dan’s Barber Shop, Mike Tabit, 76, left, isn’t slowing down. In May he moved to the Hot Rod Barber Shop owned by James Warford who has been at the North Side business for over 20 years. Customer Martin Webber (sitting) has been coming to this barbershop for 53 years.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
After cutting hair for 53 1/2 years at Dan’s Barber Shop, Mike Tabit, 76, left, isn’t slowing down. In May he moved to the Hot Rod Barber Shop owned by James Warford who has been at the North Side business for over 20 years. Customer Martin Webber (sitting) has been coming to this barbershop for 53 years. (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

For 53 years Martin Weber has gotten his hair cut at a small shop in the Town & Country Shopping Center in North Spokane.

The name has changed over the years, but not much else has.

“It’s a neighborhood barber shop and there’s excellent service here,” Weber said as Hot Rod Barber Shop owner Jim Warford brushed tufts of hair from his client’s shoulders.

But there’s a new barber at the old shop, and he worked at his last place for almost as long as Weber’s been coming to the shop on North Wall.

“I worked at Dan’s Barber Shop 53½ years,” said Mike Tabit, 76.

Tabit didn’t enjoy the enforced idleness of the statewide shutdown due to COVID-19.

“I drove my wife crazy moping around the house,” he confessed.

He was glad to get back to work when the restrictions eased, but he was ready for a change.

Tabit left Dan’s in July and started at Hot Rod in August. Dan’s Barber Shop has since closed.

Warford, also 76, welcomed the veteran haircutter to the shop he’s owned for the past 18 years.

He found Tabit’s resume impressive.

“Standing in one spot for 53 years – I couldn’t imagine that,” said Warford.

Tabit fit right in to the small shop with its red vinyl barber chairs and red tool chests that serve as barber stations. A 1920s-era red, white and blue pole perches near a chair reputed to once belong to Johnny Cash.

“I bought it at auction in Boise,” Warford said. “I was told Johnny’s wife bought the chair and put in the basement of their Hendersonville, Tennessee, home.”

Warford enjoys hot rods and classic cars and often the parking lot in front of his shop fills with his customer’s well-tended classics.

In keeping with the theme, boys who come in for a haircut can choose a toy car from a selection Warford keeps on hand.

This is haircutting Tabit understands. No colors, perms, or fancy ‘do’s, just regular men’s haircuts, cuts with low or hide fades, and beard trims and styles.

“I’m happier than I’ve been in years,” Tabit said. “I enjoy the atmosphere here.”

This is the third shop Warford has owned. He estimates he’s been cutting hair for more than 40 years.

“It’s a safe job,” he said, grinning. “Hair keeps growing.”

But his true passion is painting, and he can imagine retiring and spending more time in his studio.

Not so, Mike Tabit.

He’s delighted that the majority of his former customers at Dan’s have found him in his new place and he hopes the rest will follow.

“I’ve picked up a lot of new customers, too,” Tabit said. “I love what I do, and as long as the good Lord gives me the health to do it, I’m going to keep on doing it.”

– The photo caption has been updated to correct the number of  years Mike Tabit worked at Dan’s Barber Shop.

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