Pye establishes himself as dean of Southside barbers
By Danyelle Johnson
Edward Pye doesn’t hesitate to give advice to anyone who sits in his barber chair. He’s also quick to put the brakes on anyone who might step out of bounds with the tone of their conversation.
“We are here solely to cut hair,” said Pye. “No smoking, no profanity, no talking bad about women.”
Pye, 85, has been a fixture in Tallahassee’s Southside community. The three decades that he’s been in business makes him the dean of barbers in a time when barber shops are constantly springing up in the area.
His shop, Classic Cutz, is nestled in an old wooden building on Orange Avenue, between Meridian and Monroe streets.
For as long as Pye has been cutting hair, it could be conceived as the only profession he’s ever had. It also could be because he’s often described as one of the best among old-school barbers, too.
These days business isn’t as flourishing as it used to be. But Pye isn’t ready to let go yet.
Even when he worked as a custodian or even taught mental challenged children, cutting hair was his passion.
Pye didn’t even think about giving up on his trade when he fell and broke his back in three places two years ago. He was back to work five months later.
He was so driven to become a barber that he studied the trade back when FAMU had a school for barbers. In 2001, he established a partnership with his son, Edward “Popcorn” Pye.
“It’s been a great experience working with my daddy for twenty five years,” the younger Pye said. “Not that many people get to work with their father, so I’ve been blessed.”
The key to his longevity is as simple as establishing long-lasting friendships with his clients, Pye said.
“It’s like having an extended family,” the younger Pye said. “It goes beyond just getting a haircut. These people (even) trust us with their personal business.”
Pye is a perfect example of what he teaches when he speaks about the value of education with his clients. He raised seven children, he said, and all of them have successful careers because of their emphasis on being educated.
“Our family motto is to be independent,” he said. “In order to be in the Pye family and be successful, you must get an education. I taught my kids that you don’t want a handout from nobody; you must earn everything in this world.”
Pye also is big on common values and decency when it comes to his children – something he sometimes preaches from behind his barber chair.
“I taught all my children not to fool with bad company,” he said. “Treat others with respect no matter how they treat you.”