After 54 years, Malcolm Ming is finally hanging up his scissors
A popular St George’s barber is to close his shop after 54 years despite protests from his many loyal customers.
Malcolm Ming, 79, who opened Malcolm’s Barber Shop on Shinbone Alley in 1969, said he looks forward to living out his retirement between Bermuda and his “second home”, Cuba.
He told The Royal Gazette: “I was going when I was 65 but my customers wouldn’t let me leave. I stayed on for what was supposed to be a couple of years and that turned into 15.
“It was a very popular shop. They still don’t want me to leave.
“I have seen young kids grow up and become old men. As my customers got older, they lost all the hair on the top. They are old like myself. I’m looking forward to going now.
“I have travelled all over the world. I’ve been going to Cuba for 20-odd years. It’s my second home. My plans now are to take a vacation there every four months.
“I’m also looking forward to being a great-grandfather again. My granddaughter is in the hospital as we speak.”
The shop is due to close next Wednesday, when Mr Ming will be throwing a party for his customers and friends. The following day he will celebrate his 80th birthday.
Mr Ming decided to become a barber at the age of 20 and attended the Atlas Barber School in Manhattan.
He returned to Bermuda in 1966 and worked in his cousin’s barbershop. He said at that time he had to supplement his income with a steady job working as a waiter at the White Horse Pub & Restaurant in St George.
After a couple of years, his uncle owned the building Malcolm’s Barber Shop is in and Mr Ming decided to run his own business there.
He built a loyal clientele and now has customers who travel the full length of the island specifically to get a cut by him. Among those using his services are Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, and Kim Swan, the former leader of the United Bermuda Party and now Progressive Labour Party MP.
He also has repeat visits from tourists and sailors.
Mr Ming, a father of three, said there is not a head of hair he cannot cut and he has seen every style come and go.
He said: “The business went through a slow time when the afros came out in the Seventies — they weren’t getting haircuts as often.
“After that it picked up again when Michael Jordan cut his hair short.
“There was the flat top in the Sixties and Seventies. Young people came 30 years later and they called it the high top. I said yes, I can do it — the style is still the same.
“Now the young people come and they are asking me if I know how to do a fade. I say it’s the same as what we called marine cuts — short back and sides. They think it’s new.
“There’s only one style that’s not come back — short on top and long down the back.“
Mr Ming said he never kept his customers in the chair too long but engaged them in conversation if they wished to be.
He added: “I like what I do, especially seeing the transformation of somebody and they say, ‘I can’t believe you can do that’.
“I make everyone look brand new.”