Every other Friday at 8 a.m., Dr. Bill Howard sits down for his haircut in the Bel Air Plaza on Baltimore Pike.
The orthopedic surgeon and Harford County native has been following this routine for decades, but as of September, his barbers now sport tattoos instead of suits and bow ties.
Old Line Barbers may be new to the plaza, but the space they moved into has been a barbershop since 1965.
“He knows how to run a business, and it’s fun going in there,” says Howard of co-owner Justin Chaillou, who manages the shop, Old Line’s second location.
Chaillou and his two partners, Kevin O’Brien and Kevin Doughtery, didn’t grow up in the barbershop business. The three friends toured nationally in the punk rock band Looking Forward before settling into barbershop ownership.
“I always liked cutting hair, even back in high school,” says Chaillou, who cut his own hair and his friends’ hair in his younger years. “When the band ended, I came home and realized I didn’t have any marketable skills and needed a career fast.”
Chaillou went to barber school, and the three musicians became business owners, buying their first Old Line barbershop on West Pennsylvania Avenue in Bel Air early this year before purchasing their newest location.
“I kind of fell in love with the industry, and the tradition drew me into barbering,” said O’Brien. “It couldn’t have worked out better.”
The new owners wanted to keep the old-school feel of the Bel Air Plaza barbershop space and decided not to change much. Instead, they wanted to expand on the traditions in order to keep the regulars coming back.
“This shop for a number of years did ‘senior Wednesday,’ and now we offer a senior discount every day. It’s been surprising how many people are coming back in who used to go here for years,” O’Brien says.
The new location is now open seven days a week. The first Old Line Barbers location is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.
For Stephen Holmes of Abingdon, who’d been going to the plaza location before Old Line moved in, the mood of the place reminds him of an old-timey family shop.
“It honestly reminds me of Andy of Mayberry on ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’” Holmes says. “It was Floyd the Barber, where people went in and chatted and had a good old time. You’re getting away from that with the tattoos and punk rock and all that, but they’ve got that same friendly feel that keeps you coming back.”