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Islander Barber Shop Closing After 49 Years

Mercer Island's long established Islander Barber Shop closes on June 30 after the owners decide not to renew their lease.

The is closing its doors for good on June 30.

“Our lease is up as of July 1,” said Sheri Griffin, one of the stylists who has worked at the barber shop for 31 years.

The Islander Barber Shop employs four people including owner Bob Schmaus who retired years ago but comes in on some Saturdays. Stylist Amy Crownen has decided to take a break from cutting hair, and Griffin only works part-time, so their coworker, Ilona Karasauskas, is the only stylist working full-time at the barber shop.

“It’s a pretty big space for just two people,” said Griffin.

Griffin and Karasauskas have decided to work at on Mercer Island instead. They start in their new positions on July 2.

Both stylists plan to keep their same prices when they make the move, $18 for a regular haircut, $16 for seniors and $21 for long hair.

According to Griffin, most customers seem to feel positively about the change, but the move is bittersweet.

“I think it’s going to be hardest on Bob,” said Griffin.

Schmaus opened the Islander Barber Shop in 1963 when he was 31. The original barber shop chairs made with ash trays in the handle bars are still there and old photographs hang on the walls including a signed photograph from the Blue Angels. 

Crownen, a graduate of , has worked at the barber shop for nine years and Karasauskas has been there for 12.

“I think I was born here,” said Griffin. “I think everybody needs a change every 30 years, don’t you?”

Lisa Kremer has been taking her two sons to get their haircuts at the Islander for the last two years. Their family lives in Bellevue but her boys, John and Matt, go to school at .

“It’s kinda sad to see an old establishment, especially on the Island, close,” said Kremer. “You always see old men in here drinking coffee.”

The owners of the building intend to lease the space to a new renter, said Griffin.

In the last few weeks before the barber shop closes, Crownen, Griffin and Karasauskas will continue to take appointments and serve their many loyal clients.

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