A barber who started his career as a Saturday lad is celebrating being in business for himself for 25 years.
Allan Stone, owner of Stoney’s barber shop, took over the running of the business after buying out previous owner Rob Cairns.
It was a decision the 41-year-old says he has never regretted as he marks the silver anniversary of the shop in Laygate, South Shields.
Father-of-one Mr Stone said: “I worked for Rob when I was 21, and when he said two years later that he wanted to sell the business, I decided I wanted to buy it.
“I saw the potential in it straight away and I enjoyed working here. My mam gave me the money to buy the place.
“Yes, I was frightened. I was a young man and at that point I had never had a mortgage before.
“But I have never looked back on the decision.”
Mr Stone started his barbering career at Saks in Newcastle aged 15, then went to work for Mr Cairns.
In the last year, his success in the barber trade has also seen him being asked to become a lecturer at South Tyneside College.
“There has been a lot of changes in the industry over the years,” he said.
“At one point being a hairdresser and a barber were worlds apart, and now it’s not so much.
“Men have also become more aware of their appearance, which is why we also now offer waxing and wet shaves.
“I love barbering, and when you are passionate about something it shows – the craic is pretty good in here too.
“Giving lectures at South Tyneside College is something I had never envisaged doing.
“But it is great to be able to pass on my knowledge to the new generation entering the industry.
“I love the teaching side of it now too, knowing you are helping young people towards gaining a career.”
Mr Stone currently employs two full-time and two part-time members of staff. He also has one apprentice.
“When I took over the shop, I started off on my own. I’d be in here from 8am until late at night. Eventually I was able to take on a part-time member of staff and it just grew from there.
“We have a strong customer base and do a range of styles.
“We have a lot of young people coming in wanting designs shaved into their heads and we do often have the odd bizarre request.
“What I love about my job is that every day is different, you just never know who is going to walk through the door and what they are going to ask for.”
Stoney’s barber shop is open 8am to 5.30pm from Monday to Wednesday, 8am to 7pm on Thursday, 8am to 6pm on Friday, and 7.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday.
People can either make an appointment on 0191 420 2848 or simply drop in.