There will be too many for a barbershop quartet - but that will not stop current and former staff from an iconic Napier barbers getting together for a reunion to mark a 50-year-milestone.

This week marks half a century since Wayne Herrick left the family farm in Carterton to set up a new barber shop on Emerson St.

Owner, football nut, and one of Napier city's most recognised characters, Peter Foote, said the shop was just as relevant today as it was back then.

Foote said it was interesting equipment hadn't changed much over that time, and hairstyles were seemingly returning to the way they were when he first started.


"Basically, it's come full circle. We are now selling a lot of men's toiletries, t

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Emerson Street Barbers in Napier are celebrating cutting men's hair for 50 years. Owner and sports fanatic Peter Foote sums it up, "You've got to like people, I always enjoy my job, I see it getting better and better, long live the barber shops." Video Warren Buckland.

he look is now bearded and short back and sides. It's amazing, when I first started cutting hair, short back and sides was the thing.

"What's also come back now is blade shaving, if you want a proper shave for a wedding or something. It is nice to see barber shops back in vogue."

Foote took over the business three years ago but Herrick still works part time in the shop he first opened the doors to on November 4, 50 years ago.

"I started here in 1979 with my father (Bernie Foote) I went to Taradale for 10 years and then I came back in 1989 and I've been here ever since," he says.

"Obviously, Wayne has been here since day one, and about six of us have worked here over the years.

"It's a great business, it's a great shop, it's almost iconic in Napier. So, it's quite a milestone."

Peter Foote, owner of Emerson Street Barbers, which has been going for 50 years in Napier, Barbers 'MJ' and Mark Ross. Photo / Warren Buckland.
Peter Foote, owner of Emerson Street Barbers, which has been going for 50 years in Napier, Barbers 'MJ' and Mark Ross. Photo / Warren Buckland.

Foote said whole families had grown up around the barbershop, and in some cases, five generations had attended the shop.


"It's just such a nice place to work. We get everyone in here - the good the bad and the ugly."

That also included the odd celebrity. Former MP Chris Tremain and former All Black Michael Jones, who was particularly fascinated with the shop's mountain of football memorabilia, are two Foote remembers.

"It's the people that make the business, you've got to like people to do this, and I just like coming to work.

"In this trade you meet some great human beings, every one has got a story."

Fellow barber Mark Ross said the relationships formed over the years to were akin to a doctor-patient relationship.

Foote and Ross both remembered well the time a long-standing client came in to ask for his "last hair cut", while revealing a terminal diagnosis to the pair.

A photograph of that customer still has a prominent place on the shop's main wall.

"You do get emotionally attached to people because you do have a relationship with them," Ross said.