Experience, Friendly Atmosphere Draw Customers To Barbershop


The customer's view from an Outback Barbershop chair is Picture Mountain.

The view and the friendly atmosphere should put any customer at ease.


Between them, Larry McDaniel (seated) and Hal Wellington have 45 years of experience cutting hair.

"We use our ears besides something to hold our glasses on," said co-owner Larry McDaniel. "We listen to our customers and try our best to cut exactly as our customers want."

The newest barbershop in The Basin is located across the street from the Punkin Center Lodge and a mile from the Tonto Basin town sign.

Together, proprietors Hal Wellington and Larry McDaniel, have 45 years of experience cutting hair. They have been friends more than 30 years.

In all those years they've learned that every head of hair is different. Long hair falls a different way on each person. Cowlicks are tufts of hair that do not lie flat and can cause longer hair to fall oddly.

"The longer you stay with a barber, the better he is going to be," McDaniel said. "You can get close, but it is virtually impossible to cut someone's hair exactly the way they want it the first time."

Wellington has been cutting hair since he was 16 and never thought of any other career. His dad and grandfather were both barbers.

"I'm a thoroughbred," Wellington said.

The most unusual experience Wellington has ever had as a barber was when three inebriated men came to get mohawks.

According to Wellington, the three were workers on the Roosevelt Dam and bet each other $100 they wouldn't get mohawks.

"The youngest one was 35 and the oldest one was 65," he said.

They all got sober fast as they were leaving, Wellington said.

"Be sure and have a happy Mother's Day," Wellington told them as they left.

Wellington and McDaniel met when they were both working at Long Hair Incorporated, a Valley barber chain.

McDaniel did hair show work for Roffler for 12 years and worked at Payson Barber Shop before moving away to Arkansas.

Wellington had a barbershop in Pine in 1968 at the location of the Nifty 50s diner. He worked at the Hair Bear in Pine in 1987 for three years before settling at the Payson Barber Shop for 15 years.

Then he retired to fix up rental houses in Payson and renovate others for sale.

"I got tired of doing that," he said. "It was wearing me out, so I had to come back to work. My wife had me working too hard."

When McDaniel moved back from Arkansas, he and Wellington had talked about opening a shop.

McDaniel saw an ad for commercial space and both the men liked it, so McDaniel did the renovation work.

Outback opened its doors Dec. 13, 2005.

They give shampoos and cuts to men, women and children.

A ‘No Sniveling' sign from JJ's Cantina in Cholla Bay, Mexico hangs under a horned cow's head.

Sometimes the white barber smock causes children to imagine a barber is a doctor or a dentist or the children are afraid of the white barber smock.

"We're very good with children," Wellington said.

Outback barbers take time to get rid of those fears, occasionally, using lollipops as bribery.

"There has never been a barber shop here before," Wellington said. "We're doing really good."

Outback Barbershop is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call (928) 978-5440.

It is located at Punkin Center in Tonto Basin. Walk-ins are welcome.

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