For John Rybak, opening his True Barbers Shop at the corner of Seventh Street and Laurel Street in downtown Garden City is not only expanding his business space. He is also becoming a part of the men’s grooming tradition that began on that corner in 1950.
Built in 1950 by Chester McAllister, the storefront was initially occupied by Garden City barber Roy Laird. In November 1971, Laird sold the shop to longtime barber Cliff Rein, who, before retiring this summer, ran the iconic Cliff's Barber Shop for nearly half a century. Rybak's shop opened Wednesday, with a dozen haircuts under his belt before noon.
“This is an iconic corner for barbering in Garden City ... ” Rybak said. “It’s great to be part of that 69-year history.”
A Texas native and 1988 Garden City High School graduate, Rybak attended Old Town Barber College in Wichita, graduating in 2009. Prior to that, he worked as a truck driver for Coors and other distributing companies before deciding to do something he really enjoyed. But his interest in men’s grooming began before then.
“I was like the family’s and friends’ go-to guy if they wanted a mullet in the 1980s (or) '90s,” laughed Rybak. “The mullet has been described as ‘business in the front, party in the back,’ meaning it was short on the sides and in the front but was long and usually layered in the back. I just had a knack for that style and enjoyed the barbering aspect. Now, I’m the go-to guy for flattops. It’s my signature cut.”
After completing his 1,500 hours required for program completion, he went to work for Harold Hertel and eight years ago bought Hertel’s shop on West Chestnut Street. He's been there ever since, until now.
Rybak’s True Barbers Shop is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and is a strictly walk-ins only shop. In addition to men’s haircuts, he offers shaves, beard and mustache grooming. And, of course, flattops.