by Chris J. Taylor
(Originally written for The Voice, a Ball State student media experiment)
Community organizer. Illinois state senator. United States senator. Nobel Peace Prize winner.
President Barack Obama can claim all of these distinctions among his accomplishments but at one historic barbershop in the President’s Hyde Park neighborhood none of it matters.
Founded in 1927 as Joe’s Barbershop, Hyde Park’s third oldest business has changed locations, owners, and its name. Over the years, one thing’s remained the same, the way the salon treats its clients. Barber Antonio Coie says, “all of your status stays at the door when you walk through here.”
On the eve of Election Day 2012, we peeked into the barbershop President Barack Obama once frequented. Perhaps service is why Obama visited the shop for a buzz “every two weeks” according to Coie who joined the shop in the mid 1990s.
Hyde Park Hair Salon has always been famous for its list of highly visible clients. Filmmaker Spike Lee, Boxer Muhammad Ali and the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington are two big name clients who are said to have patronized the shop.
When in town President Obama has been known to stop by the shop saying, “winners come here.”
Coie told The Voice if President Obama were to visit the shop, he would “treat him like everybody walking through that door. He’s normal, he’s one of us.”
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Next time you’re in Chicago stop by Hyde Park Hair Salon and receive presidential treatment for just $21.00