Lawrence "Larry" Hine, better known as Larry the Barber, was a longtime institution in historic downtown Crown Point.
As the owner of Larry's Barber Shop just south of the Old Courthouse Square for 60 years, he cut the hair of and chatted up generations of Region residents, dispensing wisdom and quips like "hair today, gone tomorrow" while giving customers immaculately precise cuts. He died in January at the age of 80.
His great-niece, Alexandria "Alex" Pampalone, has stepped in to take over the barbershop at 211 S. Main St. and keep his legacy alive.
"Alex became interested in the field thanks to her great uncle," her aunt Joy Lundstrom said. "She first began by training as a hairstylist, but strong feelings kept pulling her toward becoming a barber. After more instruction, she realized her passion."
Pampalone has been cutting and styling men's hair at a barbershop in Lowell for the last four years.
"I really enjoy styling men's hair and making them feel good," she said. "I signed up as as stylist, but what I like is barbering. I feel like I connect more with it."
After Hine died, she knew she needed to carry on the shop, which occupies a building that dates to 1910. She renamed it Uncle Larry's Barbershop in his honor.
"He was in this building since 1975 and had the shop since the mid- to late-1960s," she said. "It really makes me feel good to keep it going. There's too much life left in this place. Older guys tell me they've been coming here since 1978, coming here for 40 years. It means a lot to me to keep it open so more generations can get their hair cut there."
It's an old school barbershop with a barbershop pole, antique barber's chairs, and a vintage Coca-Cola vending machine
"It's got an old school vibe. I barely changed a thing," she said. "It's got an appealing look with all the history. People peek in the window and ask if they can pop in to take pictures."
There's a lot of foot traffic since it's right by the courthouse square.
"A lot of my customers make a day of being in town. They can get their hair, grab lunch and shop around a little bit," she said.
Uncle Larry's Barbershop is currently open for walk-ins only, but Pampalone said she may add appointments in the future if needed. She cuts men's and children's hair, serving all ages.
Pampalone is currently the only barber working in the small shop, which has two chairs. She prefers it that way so customers can get their hair cut by the same barber every time they stop in.
"I'd like to stay here as long as possible," she said. "He'd been here a long time and it's a very well-known story. People keep coming in to share memories."
Uncle Larry's Barbershop is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, call 219-663-9824 or find Uncle Larry's Barbershop LLC on Facebook.