Small Business
Stan Corp cuts Louie Andrew’s hair
Stan Corp cuts Louie Andrew’s hair. Andrew is the Orutsararmiut Traditional Chief and has been getting his hair cut by Stan Corp for thirty years.
Stan’s Barbershop
A Photo Essay
By Katie Basile
School picture day is coming up in Bethel, and Stan’s Barbershop is packed. Two kids quietly play games on their grandma’s cell phone, another child climbs a stool and then howls when he can’t get down, and another little boy sits in the barber chair while Stan trims away—adding hair to the pile at his feet. While Stan cuts hair he talks: recalling decisions made at the city council meeting the week before, updates on the fall moose hunt, and the good health of his 104-year-old mother-in-law who lives in the village of Nightmute.

In 1992 Stan Corp hung his barber pole up in Bethel. Some of his first customers are now bringing in their grandchildren for a trim or buzzcut. In a town lacking a sit-down coffee shop, where restaurants come and go, Stan’s barbershop has been a community gathering point in the region for decades.

“I came here when I was 18 years old, and I’ve been here ever since. I enjoy it, I like the people, that’s the main thing. And I like being on the river. I like hunting and fishing and doing what almost everybody does—subsisting,” Stan says.

Stan doesn’t take appointments; it’s walk-in only, and because of that, the line often gets long. A 30-minute haircut can easily stretch into a two-hour social affair. While cutting hair, Stan chats with his customers, marking the seasons with updates on the fish run, reports from berry pickers, winter storm predictions, births, deaths, and so on. When it comes to the everyday occurrences that impact people, Stan may be the most well-informed person in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region.

little boy sitting in chair getting haircut while children wait and watch
Atticus Kinegak gets a haircut from Stan.
Atticus Kinegak gets a haircut from Stan.
little girl looking into shop mirror
haircut being given while customers wait
Theresa Nick watches her husband, Raymond Andrew, get a haircut at Stan’s Barbershop while Josh Charlie (right) waits in line.
two children sitting on bench in waiting room
Young locals play video games while waiting for a haircut at Stan’s Barbershop.
Stan using a comb during a little boy's haircut
Ari McIntyre gets a mohawk haircut from Stan; Ari wanted his haircut to match his dad, Shane McIntyre, who recently passed away in a boating accident.
two men sitting on bench waiting for their turn
Athos Spinola and Willie Keppel talk while waiting for haircut at Stan’s Barbershop. Spinola and Keppel live in Quinhagak but met for the first time at Stan’s. An antique scale sits between them.
Bethel’s Traditional Chief Louie Andrew stops in for a trim. Andrew is 77 years old and has been getting his hair cut by Stan for thirty years. “I tell him to stay away from my eyebrows,” Andrew jokes. “Stan’s a good man.”

Stan recalls the bowl cut, the A-line bob, perms, and hair trends in every color over his decades of work. His business advice is to show up consistently.

“I go to work every day. You have to be there for your customers. The only time I miss is a vacation or hunting,” he says.

Stan follows in the footsteps of his father, who ran Don’s Barber Shop in Upper Michigan. Don Corp, who passed away two years ago, was happy to see his son pick up the shears.

“Every time I went home to visit him, I’d watch him, even until a few years ago. He was a barber for sixty-six and a half years,” Stan says of his father. “He loved it too. He liked going to work every day. I didn’t understand that as a kid, but now I do.”