Everett Kendall Flint performed his first haircut when he was in middle school. His older brother Ellis was tired of the same old buzz cuts their father gave all five boys in the family. There are 10 Flint children in total, and their father, Joseph, just needed the trims to be efficient and cheap.
But Ellis wanted to have spiked hair, like the men on “Jersey Shore,” Flint said. So when their father was at his welding job one day, Ellis asked his younger brother to use their father’s barber supplies to style his hair. Everett Flint suspected their father would be mad, but he pulled out the gel and clippers anyway.
After work, Joseph came home and saw Ellis’ hair.
“I was a little taken aback,” Joseph recalled.
Everett remembers the reaction being a little stronger.
“It was the first and only time he was mad,” Everett said.
Still, when the family was next due for haircuts, Joseph asked his middle-school age son Everett to cut his hair.
“And I’ve cut my father’s hair ever since,” Everett said.
In fact, Everett, still only 28, has cut a lot of people’s hair since then. At large family gatherings, he said he would bring a backpack full of barber supplies and set up a chair in the corner, cutting hair all day.
“And my family would bring me a plate of food at the end. I swear,” he said.
During his days at Amsterdam High School, Everett said he had a setup in the family’s house and would cut his brothers,’ cousins’ and friends’ hair at a clip of about five cuts per day.
So maybe it was inevitable that Everett would become a professional barber. He studied at the American Barber Institute in Manhattan and then worked as a barber in New York City — where customers included rapper G-Eazy — for three years before he opened his own shop, the Everett Kendall Barber Parlor, on Amsterdam’s Market Street as a 21-year-old in 2015. After shutting down for two years because of the pandemic, the shop reopened last month — weekdays 12-6 p.m. — with the hiring of new barber and fellow Amsterdam High alum Bryan Stanavich, just 24.
But Everett doesn’t necessarily see his journey as fate. Though he didn’t want to get into specifics, he said youthful follies were a little too close a shave.
“Barbering really helped me out a lot. If I didn’t have barbering, man, I could have easily gone down the wrong path,” Everett said. “It helped me just stay out of trouble and communicate with people and make a little bit of money.”
His uncle Justin said he’s lived a full and purposeful life, including working for the FBI, but he’s also been plagued by alcoholism, resulting in a liver transplant, due to cirrhosis.
“I drank my whole life. You think you can just keep going and keep going. But finally, it just took its toll,” Justin said.
So when Justin looks at his nephew, he sees a young man he admires.
“I’m living vicariously through him now,” Justin said. “I’m proud of him. The quickness that he did it. It’s the way he took off.”
WRAPPING HEADS AROUND THE IDEA
Despite seeing his son’s talent as a barber, Joseph wasn’t initially sure that starting a business was a great idea for his fourth-oldest child.
“I was kind of against it. I thought it was a lot for his age, taking out a loan. I wasn’t dead set against it, but I didn’t like it,” said Joseph. Still father helped son, and now Joseph says, “He was right, though. It was a good business for him.”
Even if Joseph wavered on the general idea of the barber shop, the aesthetic that his son chose was more certain. While not necessarily describing his son as an old soul, Joseph said Everett has always been drawn to classics.
“It seemed like he did always congregate toward older people. Any of the parties, he always went to sit by the old people and talk,” Joseph said. “Maybe he just thought it was more interesting talking to older people.”
In 2015, Everett bought and renovated a vacant 1890s storefront on Market Street. The 1930s-’40s era feel inside the barber shop very much fits Everett’s affinity for antiques. The shop features a tin ceiling, dark oak bar, black and white checkered floor and a display of early 20th century personalized shave mugs that customers would keep at a barber shop to be used for mixing shaving cream and hot water during every visit.
Though the parlor doesn’t use the mugs, it still offers straight-razor shaves with hot towels and hot shaving cream.
Despite Everett’s attention to detail — from the hem of his dress pants to the gel in his hair — and his obvious passion for what he does, he didn’t always feel proud to pursue this line of work, especially in high school.
“I was always ashamed to say to people I was a barber because I didn’t think it was a real professional profession,” he said. “But my grandpa, he said don’t be ashamed to tell people you’re a hairdresser or a barber. It’s a good job.”
Barbering is a good job for Bryan Stanavich, too. His family, which also has 10 children, hung around the Flints, though he and Everett weren’t terribly close as kids. Stanavich was four years younger, and he focused on sports, especially football — Stanavich was the starting running back for Amsterdam. But, even if Stanavich and Flint weren’t buddies, Stanavich knew of Flint’s barbering proficiencies. So when Stanavich began cutting hair for his fellow soldiers while serving in the U.S. Army — ordering his own supplies on Amazon — he looked to Flint for guidance. From the base at Fort Riley in Kansas and then in Europe, Stanavich watched Flint’s how-to YouTube videos and developed his own deftness. So as his active duty was nearing its end last year, Stanavich texted Flint to see about helping out in the barbershop.
Now, he’s back in Amsterdam working toward his license under Flint’s tutelage. Not surprisingly, Stanavich said his specialty is the high and tight cut.
Flint said he’s looking to hire another barber-in-training, and he welcomes any applicants who think they can make the cut.
Stanavich said it’s meaningful to be working at a distinct business in his hometown.
“A lot of the old guys, they come in and say it’s nice to have a barbershop in their city. They enjoy coming to Market Street, talking, getting their haircut. They love it,” Stanavich said. “They look up at the ceiling and smile.”
‘FEELS LIKE FAMILY’
Dan Fennessey is a regular.
“I love the old barbershop feel. It feels like family when you go there. You reminisce about old times, tell stories. And you can talk about anything” he said. “We talk shop, we talk cars, we talk people. It’s just a comfortable place to go and get your haircut.”
Fennessey also taught Flint in seventh grade at the Wilbur H. Lynch Literacy Academy in the Greater Amsterdam School District, where Fennessey has taught science for more than two decades.
“He was ambitious back then and showed that ability of starting his own business, and here he is,” Fennessey said. “It’s not unfamiliar territory that I see some of my students in workplaces in Amsterdam, so that makes me really proud. Small towns like Amsterdam, we need to keep those kids local and give back to the community.”
Andrew Waite can be reached at [email protected] and at 518-417-9338. Follow him on Twitter @UpstateWaite.