Chris McWayne opened the Halstead Barber Shop (257 N. Main, Halstead) in May and has seen a slow but steady stream of customers since.

"Pretty funny I'd wind up here. I've had people begging me for years to come up here and always said I wouldn't do it," McWayne said.

McWayne, a native of Liberal, has been a barber for 26 years. It is a passion that runs in the family, as his mother and sister are cosmetologists as well. McWayne also has experience teaching barbering at the Kansas School of Hairstyling in Wichita.

"I floated around doing different things and finally, one day, I looked at my wife and I just said, you know...I need to find a career and not a job," McWayne said.

"I think I drove around the barber school three times before I got the gumption to go in," McWayne said, "I started the next day."

McWayne said being a barber is not easy, but barbering is not difficult.

"Just don't scalp anyone unless they want you to," McWayne said.

The barber shop may not be the staple of the downtown business scene it once was, but McWayne said he thinks a resurgence of shops is starting to appear.

"I think we're coming back," McWayne said. "I've learned more behind this chair than I could have ever learned in 12 years of college. I've learned how to cure diseases, fungus, warts."

"The farmers know a little bit of everything," agreed Leonard Hale, who was having his hair cut by McWayne. "At least, the older ones did, because they had to."

Though McWayne has a lot of family in Halstead, he wasn't familiar with the city.

"I can't count how many services I've been to at the cemetery north of town," McWayne recalled, "but I never came down Main Street until I got this job. This is one of the prettiest little Main Streets I've ever seen in my life."

McWayne has been impressed with Halstead's friendliness and safe atmosphere — he said he had met a Halstead police officer who mentioned he checked on the shop every night.

"The secret to getting a good haircut is being able to explain to your barber how you want it," McWayne said.

"And sit very still," Hale added.

Halstead Barber Shop is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and offers haircuts for $15; buzz cuts for $10. For more information or to make an appointment outside of regular business hours, call (620) 391-2200.