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New Boystown Barbershop Rings in With Taste for Unique Phones

By Serena Dai | March 14, 2013 7:57am

BOYSTOWN — Don't be surprised to see flashing neon while getting a haircut at Slade's Barbershop.

The owner of the new haircuttery at 3314 N. Halsted St., Greg Slade, loves buying unique phones from the '80s and '90s. And land lines might be becoming the dinosaurs of technology, but Slade's thrifted phones are fully functional — and one phone lights up when a call comes in.

"When something goes out of style, you can get it dirt cheap," Slade said. "And as it becomes more rare, the prices shoot up."

Eventually, Slade wants to fill a wall of the barbershop, which opened earlier this month, with the ringers.

Slade, an avid thrifter, first thought of collecting phones when choosing some for "a miniature museum" of random items in his house in Logan Square, he said. The phones there are plain, average-looking ones, he said, but it got him interested in seeking out colorful, more unusual models. 

He mostly collects them at thrift shops, such as Village Discount Outlet in Roscoe Village, one of his go-to's, and by sifting through eBay.

"I'm building that stuff over time," he said. "I like finding that stuff in thrift stores. Thrift stores will sell the coolest looking thing next to a piece of a junk, and they're both the same price."

Beyond fitting the '80s and '90s, hipster, indie rock vibe of the store, the phones will eventually serve another function: Customers can pick them up for a "create your own adventure" story.

Men waiting for a haircut will be able to hop from point to point in a story using the phone's automated system — the same system a movie theater or customer service phone line might have. Slade's phone system can record two hours worth.

It's not set up yet since Slade is focusing on the goal of running four chairs in the shop. But eventually he hopes to fill the store with quirky items. The chairs, for example are 300-pound behemoths with sparkly blue vinyl covers.

"I wanted to created a barber shop that is unique," he said.