The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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High and tight

Photo By: Tanner Garza
Communication sophomore Wallis Harvey gets his hair trimmed by stylist Johanna Turner Monday afternoon at the Northgate Barbershop.
Photo By: Tanner Garza Communication sophomore Wallis Harvey gets his hair trimmed by stylist Johanna Turner Monday afternoon at the Northgate Barbershop.

Since 1935, Northgate Barber Shop has provided haircuts for members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets while bearing witness to a transforming campus.
Barbershop manager Sue Caceres has been at Northgate Barber Shop since 2002 and said she knew nothing of the Corps of Cadets before she began working.
“I was still in training and they came in and swarmed the entire shop,” Caceres said. “It was a lot of fun, but a lot of nerves.”
Barbershop owner Jennifer Baker said these Corps rushes are much different between the fall and spring semesters.
“In the fall, they tend to hit us at the end of the week before the game,” Baker said. “In the spring, they spread out throughout the week, with Monday and Wednesday being the busy days.”
Each Corps classification has its own distinctive cut that has remained the same as long as the shop has been in business, Caceres said.
“The higher rank you are, the more hair you get to keep,” Caceres said. “The freshmen come in and get a 2×5, then when you become a sophomore you get a 4×4 and as a junior you get a three-finger.”
Baker said seniors pretty much choose how they want their hair cut as long as it is nice and clean.
“You can sometimes find a senior coming in wanting a high-and-tight,” Baker said. “Well, he can really have a little bit on the sides so they can do what they want as long as it is within the regulations.”
Cadet and communication sophomore Wallis Blake Harvey said it’s taken awhile to get used to having his head shaved.
“It’s really, really short and I don’t think I’ll get used to how short it is,” Harvey said. “The first time I got it cut, it was freezing outside. My head felt pretty good going in and when I came out it was freezing.”
Caceres said it has been interesting in her time at the shop to see how the Corps has grown while maintaining the same tradition.
Baker said Northgate has changed drastically in their time at the shop.
“Back when I got here in ’97, there were no bars on the street and now it’s almost all bars,” Baker said. “Improvements have been made by the city and there’s hardly any free parking anymore. Through these changes we’ve lost some locals who used to be able to drive here, but in exchange we’ve gained more regular students on foot because of new housing being built on Northgate.”
Caceras said parking was much easier in the past.
“When College Main was open, people could just drive by the shop,” Caceres said. “You used to be able to drive on this street and park on this street right in front of the shop.”
Despite the changes, the shop has been able to keep a strong customer base.
“It’s definitely different,” Baker said. “People thought it was going to hurt us and a lot of businesses have been hurt by it but we’re still going.”
As a staple of Northgate for 80 years now, Northgate Barber Shop is about much more than just cutting hair, Caceres said.
“The most rewarding thing for me is to see [the Corps] come in as freshmen and then see those same people come in as seniors with their freshmen,” Caceres said.
Baker said the employees get to witness a transformation of sorts within the Corps.
“They come in as boys and leave as men,” Baker said. “In those four years there is a huge difference in who they are.”
Corps Commander David Trigg said some cadets have developed a rapport with all the shops in the area over the years.
“Cadets have great conversations with barbers and get to know them on a personal level,” Trigg said.
The shop takes great pride in this relationship with the Corps, Caceres said.
“We love our Corps, and I think it’s the pride of Aggieland,” Caceres said. “We take pride in every haircut we give because I think we’re the oldest tradition on Northgate and we try our best to make them look the best because they represent us and that’s who we are.”

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