Dean’s Barber Shop says goodbye to its namesake

Willis Scott

Dean’s Barbershop has been a figure of Old Town since 1934. It’s been passed from one barber to another, and now it’s been passed on again.

The long-time owner Dean Kolinsky retired in early November, and he has passed the shop onto his partner, Tom Gorman. Gorman intends to keep the name of the shop the same, as well as maintain Kolinsky’s legacy for personal service.

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The atmosphere of the shop is wrapped up in its history. Kolinsky bought the shop from the previous owner Max, and Max had purchased it from the original owner, Harold Kruse. This lineage of barbers is what makes Dean’s Barbershop the friendly, traditional shop that people love.

Kolinsky worked with Max and his partner Art for 33 years. Max started in 1970, and Art started in 1961. Both barbers have retired in recent years.

Kolinsky started working at the shop in 1984, but his career started even longer ago. He began cutting hair when he was 19 working in his father’s barber shop. They cut hair together in his hometown of Florida for 17 and a half years.

In 1983 Kolinsky Dean moved to Colorado. He said he “got tired of the heat, humidity and bugs.” Yet, he’s stayed a Florida Gators fan through all these years.

Kolinsky’s is covered in Gators posters and flags. Dean doesn’t mind the controversy. Although he admits that “a lot of people don’t like that word [Gators] since McElwain!”

Jim McElwain coached football at CSU from 2012-2014 before taking his current position with the University of Florida.

In barber school, Kolinsky learned how to give haircuts, shampoo and shave. Although he had decided against offering facial shaves, Gorman plans to start giving neck shaves with haircuts soon.

Kolinsky said he has had people from every walk of life come into his shop. Many people have returned to Dean’s Barber Shop for haircut after haircut.

He said he doesn’t have any idea how long some of his customers have been coming to the shop.

“Sometimes we get kids in here saying my dad came in here years ago, or my grandpa came here years ago,” Kolinsky said.

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Gorman has been friends with Kolinsky for years, and he left his own barbershop in Glenwood Springs to work at Dean’s Barber Shop in May of this year. He said he has enjoyed his time working along Kolinsky.

“Dean’s probably the greatest person I ever worked for,” Gorman said. “A lot of memories there. A lot of jokes. A lot of good times.”

Gorman said he’s glad to take the helm of the shop.

“I’m real thankful Dean gave me the opportunity to do this,” Gorman said. “He could’ve picked anybody in this town to take over the barbershop for him.”

After what will be 51 years of cutting hair in December, Kolinsky is ready for his retirement.

“It gets to a point in a person’s life where you get wore out, and you just can’t stand on your feet all day long for years and years,” Kolinsky said. “So, I figured that 50 years was enough of it.”

The thing he’ll miss most is the people.

“A lot of nice people come in here,” Kolinsky said. “People I work with and a lot of people that come in here are nice, and I have a great time.”

He plans to drop in from time to time, but he really looks forward to relaxing and spending time with his wife and son. Kolinsky is also happy to say goodbye to his alarm clock.

“That thing goes off at 5:00,” Kolinsky said. “I’m tired of the alarm clock!”

For Kolinsky, it is time to begin a new chapter in life.

“Time to hang ‘em up,” Kolinsky said. “Time to hang the clippers up.”