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EDWARDSVILLE - For veteran barber Ron Luedloff, the job is about providing more than a haircut.

Ron’s new shop, Red Bird Barbershop, is the real deal, with haircuts, hot towels and beard trims. Located at 8111 North State 159 just north of Edwardsville, the shop specializes in classic cuts and modern styles. But Ron is equally interested in the people he serves. He intends to offer great service as well as friendship to everybody who sits in his classic '60s barber chair.

“This is a real barbershop,” Ron said. “I give a good haircut, but what’s even more important is, when you’re a barber, you get to be friends with people and you know a lot about them. You know them and their family, their kids, their grandkids. That’s all part of the experience. Of course, you’re there to get a haircut and that’s what you’re going to leave with, a good haircut. But there’s a lot more to it.”

Ron loves cutting hair, but the people are the most important part of his job. He makes a point to connect with his customers, and he tries to help people where he can.

A haircut costs $22 or $20 for kids under age 12, and a beard trim is $5 on top of that or $15 standalone. Ron noted that he aims to keep his prices affordable, and he will offer discounts for people with multiple kids. His hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, which he hopes will appeal to farmers and other people who don’t work “bankers’ hours.”

Walk-ins are welcome, or you can schedule an appointment by calling 618-772-3780. This is Ron’s cell phone number, and he said that people are welcome to call him anytime. He knows that unexpected funerals or other events can pop up; he will fit you in.

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This readiness to help people is partly why Ron has been so successful. After a career in sales, he moved to the Table Rock area in Branson, Missouri, and decided to attend barber college after a few friends pointed out his creativity. He fell in love with the job and opened the famous 39 Barbershop, which quickly gained a reputation for great cuts and conversation.

“It turned out that I had a talent for that. Everyone has a talent. Sometimes you don’t know it until you get exposed to it,” he explained. “I built that business up and it was very successful. I had people all the way from Kansas City, Wichita, Dallas. They would try to come to the lake and time their haircuts so they could come see me. So it all worked out. I really enjoyed it. We had a good time, and I intend to do the same here.”

A few months ago, Ron and his wife moved back to the St. Louis area to be closer to their grandchildren. He planned to retire, but he quickly realized that he couldn’t give up barbering. He decided to open Red Bird Barbershop so he could provide the same great service to the community around Edwardsville, Bunker Hill, Bethalto, Staunton, Hamel and Moro.

Throughout his career, Ron has met a lot of “interesting fellas,” from D-Day veterans to professional football players to a Top Gun pilot. He enjoys getting to know people and makes a point to build genuine friendships with the folks he serves.

“You kind of feel people out,” he explained. “I have a pretty good sense of people’s personalities and stuff, and I’m truly interested about them and their lives and what they do for a living and their grandkids, their kids, their pets, whatever. That’s how you get to know people, is just talk to them, let them talk.”

Authenticity is also important to Ron. He remembers going to the barbershop with his father when he was a little kid in the 1960s. He always liked the barber chair because it reminded him of “Star Trek,” and when he decided to open his own shop, he knew he wanted a chair exactly like the one he used to sit in as a child. To fulfill this dream, Ron drove all the way from Springfield, Missouri to Indianapolis to buy the classic 60s chair that’s still in his shop to this day.

He laughed as he told the story, but it proves Ron’s devotion to his craft and his customers. As Red Bird Barbershop grows, Ron can’t wait to welcome more people to his shop and share the experience of a traditional barbershop with the Riverbend region.

“I hope that people will come and give me a try,” he added. “I think they’ll be happy they did.”

Walk-ins are welcome, or you can call Ron at 618-772-3780 to schedule an appointment. Follow the official Red Bird Barbershop Facebook page for more information.

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