UPDATED: Doug's Barber Shop, Heights Institution Featured in Rushmore, Closing

Categories: Sole of Houston

rushmore_barbershop2.JPG
Still from Rushmore
Jason Schwartzman, as Max Fischer in Rushmore, barbering in Doug's Barber Shop.

UPDATE: Owner Doug Dreher said he is working on mediation with the company, J. Conti Interests LLC. If they don't succeed, the business will have to move, he said.

Dreher has been renting the establishment for the past 13 years without a problem, until last month. Dreher said he dropped off his rent check before going out of town for a couple of weeks, but the company informed him that they never received a check.

His landlords informed him that they'd been trying to reach him for weeks when they notified him of the eviction, he said. "That one was on me. My employees somehow didn't relay the message," he said.

Dreher has filed for mediation, hoping that the two sides can work things out. "I know customers will follow us if we have to move, but it's the historic aspect of this place. This is where Rushmore was filmed, and I'm pretty sure it's the oldest continuously operating barbershop around," he said.

The lights were on and buzz clippers were whirring, but all was not well Friday morning at Doug's Barber Shop, the storied location made even more famous after it was used extensively in Wes Anderson's 1998 film Rushmore.

Employees didn't deny that it looks like the shop, at 219 East 11th, which has reportedly been in business since 1929, will be closing on November 15. There were two barbers at work and a handful of customers gathered in the shop, but everyone went silent when asked about the shop closing its doors.

The barbers were reluctant to say more or give their names and would only confirm that the barbershop is expected to close, and that they believe the closing is related to a problem with the landlord, J. Conti Interests LLC.

A woman standing outside the barbershop waiting for her husband said she'd heard rumors the shop was closing and came in that morning hoping it wasn't true.

"I can't believe it. My kids got their first haircuts here. We've been coming here for years," she said.

A representative from J. Conti Interests LLC, the landlord of the property and many others in the Heights, declined to comment on the barbershop's closing (in this parlance, "declined to comment" is a nice way of saying she asked why Hair Balls wanted to know and then hung up.)

One of the Rushmore scenes, at about the two-minute mark:

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9 comments
stonerbuddybongloader
stonerbuddybongloader

For what they charge at the barbershop ($16), I get a GREAT haircut, and razor line edge, and a friggin massage...seriously, a massage. I lived in Sugarland, and would drive here for the best haircut in town.

I will go wherever they go, but it sux for them to have to be displaced. real great bunch of guys here at this place.

LaborStatistic
LaborStatistic

I used to rent an apartment in one of those dumps J. Conti Interests owns on Heights Blvd. Not the nicest people. 

JMTexas
JMTexas

Max : I like your nurse's uniform, guy.

Dr. Flynn: These are O.R. scrubs.

Max : O, R they?

Classic.

b0004
b0004

Yelp should, in general, be disregarded and not included in news stories. IMHO.

Anse
Anse

This is really terrible news. Real-deal barbershops are few and far between. I can't imagine going to a Supercuts or some crap. I've gotten every haircut at Doug's since I moved to Houston in 2004. I noticed that they jacked up their rates considerably a while back, but the place is regularly packed with clients. It's almost impossible to get in there on a Saturday without a considerable wait. They aren't hurting for business. 

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