NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Oxford Barber Shop, on the campus of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says it's being forced to close after more than 60 years of hair cuts.
"This is tradition. What your Grandfather went to, your dad went to. This is old school, this is part of what made America great - the barbershop," said barber B-J Holmes.
Stepping inside the Oxford is like stepping back in time. From the nifty old barber chairs to the classic and still working cash register. But one thing that never goes out of style is a good haircut.
"I've been coming here since the 1980s. This place has been a staple in the area," said customer Perry Haile.
The place sits nestled among the large medical buildings on campus just off 21st Avenue. Some may have never noticed it, but it's been there for decades.
"That barber pole has been twirling since I was a child," said Haile.
The barbers at Oxford have cut hair for generations of customers. Haile says his father first brought him here for a trim.
"My father, he just recently passed. He got cut by that gentleman on the end."
There is a legion of loyal customers. But now there's word the lease will not be renewed.
"We were told they are re-purposing the little location -- some three hundred square feet to do something else and moving on from our barbershop," said Holmes.
He added that the Oxford must close by December 31. Customers are only just now learning of this and they don't like it. "I hope they don't close it. Good staffing, good location, no reason to shut it down," said customer LaBronze Floid.
Citizens have started a petition at Change.org hoping to save the Oxford with more than 500 signatures so far. Thanks to those loyal customers, this is one business that's managed to survive during the pandemic but it won't survive a loss of the lease.
We reached out to both Vanderbilt Medical Center and the university for more details on the decision. John Howser, Chief Communications Officer released the following statement
“Due to the insatiable need for additional clinic capacity, this places a premium on every square foot of space, especially on our downtown Nashville campus. For this reason, we have to continually think about how space is used now and how it might be repurposed to meet the needs of our patients."