FRESH CUT: Peter Tozer and his apprentice Damon with a customer at Silver Scissor & Comb in Lismore.
FRESH CUT: Peter Tozer and his apprentice Damon with a customer at Silver Scissor & Comb in Lismore. Harrison Astbury

After 50 years, barber shop icon is cutting back

AFTER more than 40 years with his own business, it is time for Peter Tozer to hang up the clippers.

Owner of Silver Scissor & Comb in Lismore's Centrewalk Arcade, Tozer has seen hair trends come and go, and what is old is new again.

"I started when you had hand clippers, you did most things with scissors; now electric clippers have come in, with half a dozen types of clippers you can use," he said.

"Now the bowl cut, the undercut and the sweep-over are making a come-back, with big mops on top."

Peter had a humble start at haircutting in Sydney when he was 15, and soon became a fully fledged professional "in the late 60s or early 70s" - the memory is a little fuzzy now.

He took after his father, who was also a barber, and passed down the trade to his daughter, Dee, who manages his shop.

Peter's brother also cuts hair in Alstonville. His sister is also in the trade.

"I moved up here in the late 70s, and they followed me up here," he said.

Peter started Silver Scissor & Comb with just one chair, and has since expanded to employ seven cutters.

The business has not always been in its present location, however, as weather events have caused the team to relocate a few times.

"I've been through about five floods," he said.

"The flood (in 2016) knocked us around a little bit, we had the doors open with no floors for a while.

"It's been about two-and-a-half years being in the shop I am in now."

Peter has also made it a point to emphasise skill, and all his staff are trained to perform both women and men's haircuts.

"We still get asked whether we're a barber or for ladies. I think 'cause at my age now they all think I'm just an old barber," he said.

In his time, Peter has also seen typical hairdressing apprenticeships cut from four to three years.

"The new age barbers now are all shearing shed-type guys," he said.

"In my younger days, no one wanted to be called a shearing shed."

That old fashioned service and skill have earned Peter a lot of respect in the town.

Talking to him, everyone stops and says hello, and asks what he is up to.

Peter has cut back on his time as a cutter, officially 'semi-retiring' with the aim to fully retire soon.

"The older I get, the less I do," he said.

Though, his schedule is still busy, looking after his grand kids as well as taking care of his mum who has recently moved into a nursing home.

Customers who wish to see Peter are encouraged to get in quickly, he works on Monday afternoons and all day Thursday.

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