Times have changed for barbers.



Originally, they were called upon to take care of such medical emergencies as letting blood, removing teeth, lancing boils and removing bullets.



Although Mary Schreiber still makes house calls, she limits her busy schedule to simply cutting hair at Mary’s Clippin’ Post.


Times have changed for barbers.

Originally, they were called upon to take care of such medical emergencies as letting blood, removing teeth, lancing boils and removing bullets.

Although Mary Schreiber still makes house calls, she limits her busy schedule to simply cutting hair at Mary’s Clippin’ Post.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of her Chillicothe business, and she plans to celebrate the accomplishment all year.

Moving her shop location three times in those years, Schreiber now plans to stay put at 418 W. Walnut St.

“I’m staying there forever,” she said.

Young shaver
Hailing from Greenville in Southern Illinois, Schreiber came to CentraI Illinois to attend Peoria Barber College.

She worked at Starnes Barber Shop and graduated from barber school in 1973. Hair cuts were $5.

In 1978, she lived in rural Chillicothe, and driving back and forth to work soon lost its appeal.

“I thought, if I’m gonna live here, I’m gonna work here,” Schreiber said of her choice to cut hair in town.

She started cutting hair at Pat’s Barbershop, owned by Pat Juliani, which offered three barber chairs.

Wanting to have her own place, Schreiber, with paintbrush in hand, painted the outside of the former Schiers Dairy building across from Chillicothe City Cemetery.

The building, elaborately adorned with Schreiber’s painted cacti, garnered lots of attention from townfolk.

In 1979, Schreiber won the State Champion Men’s Hairstyling Contest.

“I sat the big trophy on my back bar, and all my customers thought it was a bowling trophy,” she said.

For 11 years, Schreiber clipped away happily.

Then, in 1989, she had a chance to rent the former First National Bank drive-through building at the corner of Walnut and Fourth streets.

Happy on her own, Schreiber jumped at the chance to own her own building in 1999.
The current Walnut Street location has been a good fit for Schreiber and her customers.

“I love Chillicothe and I love cutting hair,” said Schreiber. “My motto is, ‘I help beautify Chillicothe one person at a time.’”

Style and grace
After 36 years cutting hair, Schreiber has witnessed many changes in her chosen field.

Although she never let blood, removed teeth, lanced boils or removed a bullet, Schreiber does make house calls for customers who are ill or injured.

Originally taught how to shave people’s faces, Schreiber admitted she does not miss the job.

“I’m just glad we don’t have to do that stuff anymore,” she said. “Barbering is a dying art. “Eventually, they’ll all be hair stylists.”

Inside, customers find a huge variety of conversation pieces, including several pieces of antique barber equipment.

Due to her Native American ancestry, Schreiber displays many original wolf paintings and her children’s book, “SnoWolf.”

“My shop is like a junk store,” she said.

Her log-cabin home in Hopewell Estates, where she has lived since 1995, bursts at the seams with Native American art and artifacts and masks, many handmade by Schreiber.

She sells some of her art work and masks at her shop.

During this year’s anniversary celebration, Schreiber will also sell T-shirts and is handing out personalized gel rollerball pens.

She said she plans to put banners outside and give each customer a small bag of chocolate candy.

 A cut above
“My customers told me I’d done 30 years, and in 30 more, I can retire,” said Schreiber.

“I feel that my job is very important,” she said. “Not only do I make people beautiful, but I help save lives. I have sent several of my customers to the doctor because they had ‘bad-looking’ moles.”

She said the camaraderie between her and her customers makes them like family.

“That’s the interesting part,” she said, “to sit back and you cut this little 2-year-old’s hair, and then, boom, just like that, he’s a doctor.”

One client who is now a doctor shined extremely well after one hair cut.

“I had cleaned my mirror and left the Windex sitting beside my water bottle,” said Schreiber. “I sprayed his hair with Windex instead of water.”

Schreiber also said she once dreamed she gave a woman a mohawk haircut.

“I was saying to myself, ‘Oh, my God, Mary, I can’t believe you did this,’” Schreiber said.
“But I was saying to her, ‘Isn’t this great? You could set a new trend.’”

Schreiber works from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Thursday, and from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. each Saturday. Appointments can be made by calling 274-3851.

She calls many of her customers friends and is up-to-date on what is going on in their lives.

“I really enjoy the banter between me and the customers,” she said.

She plans to continue her chosen career as long as possible.

“I want to say thank you to all my customers who have remained loyal to me all these years, and for putting up with me during my life,” said Schreiber.

“I thank God every day for giving me the ability to cut hair and for bringing me to Chilli and giving me customers who are so good to me.

“They seem more like friends and family than anything else. Maybe it’s because I don’t have family around here. And that’s why it is so very hard when one passes on. It’s very personal to me.

“I sincerely hope and pray that I have been as much a blessing to them as they have been to me.”