Psychic Barber now Moving Barber, displaced by development

By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Rick Cook, aka the “Psychic Barber” (per the iconic neon in the window of his shop, featured here in 2009), is moving operations – another West Seattle business displaced by development.

Rick says he recently received 30 days notice to vacate the 19-year home of his Rick’s Barber Shop at 5251 California, to make way for a future project.

His landlord Hasan Ocak, who also owns the adjacent restaurant Ephesus, told WSB he isn’t yet ready to discuss his plans for the new development (a preliminary city filing mentions a 3-story mixed-use building, which is the height limit for the zoning on that site).

But Rick already knows where he’s going – someplace that’s both new and old:

Rick says it’s a classic “Full Circle” tale, starting when he bought The Classic Barber Shop in The Junction in 1980. (Stay with us here …)

Several years after that, Rick’s friend and fellow hairstylist Julie Dodson moved to Seattle. Rick showed her around and introduced her to other stylists. A few years later, Rick sold “The Classic” to Keith Grayson, its current owner. Julie subsequently went to work with Keith.

Even if you’re not a client, you might be familiar with the saga of The Classic – another shop recently displaced by development, leaving its former home near California/Alaska (at the future Equity Residential site) at the beginning of this year. That’s when Keith and Julie moved The Classic to its current location at 5040 California Avenue, when barber John Burmaz, who had long operated Alki Style and Barber Shop there, retired (as reported here).

And here’s where the “full circle” part comes in:

Next month, Rick will relocate to The Classic Barber Shop with longtime associates Keith and Julie. He says, “It’s a good fit; it’s like the band’s getting back together.”

Julie says that she’s very excited about the plans, and Rick adds that with Keith looking at retiring soon, Julie will need someone else to run the shop with. “Things are happening the way they’re supposed to,” is how he sees it.

Julie adds that she and Rick share a number of clients, so sharing shop space makes sense too. Rick will be keeping his current work number (206-933-8733) so clients can still easily reach him.

Rick is bringing along his equipment and his mural. But the big question is, of course: Will the “Psychic Barber” sign move with him, too?

Rick says this is the first question his customers ask, and half of them want him to take it to the new window. His response is that it’s “up in the air right now.” He’ll at least keep the “Barber” portion of the sign at the new shop, but if his colleagues aren’t comfortable with also being “Psychic,” he’ll keep that sign at home.

Meantime, as for the soon-to-be-vacant home of the Psychic Barber – demolition is likely next month. (A permit to demolish the house behind it was granted last year.)

23 Replies to "Psychic Barber now Moving Barber, displaced by development"

  • evergreen August 10, 2012 (6:47 pm)

    The “Psychic Barber” sign adds charm to West Seattle, please keep it displayed!

  • onion August 10, 2012 (7:07 pm)

    The psychic barber had to know it was coming.

  • miws August 10, 2012 (7:38 pm)

    Best of luck to you Rick!



  • JanS August 10, 2012 (8:38 pm)

    I love the quirky things about West Seattle…

  • 56bricks August 10, 2012 (9:00 pm)

    onion, I did know it was coming, long before I inherited the Psychic sign but just didn’t know when. Told folks I had retired from being psychic as I could no longer “forsee” a “future” in it. (groan) Guess I’d best get back to psychic school for some remedial training. Next week…winning powerball numbers! Thanks to all, look forward to seeing you at the new location. – Rick

  • Sonoma August 10, 2012 (9:17 pm)

    Mixed-use development – zzzzz$$$zzzz.

    Best of luck, Rick!

  • Full Circle August 10, 2012 (10:23 pm)

    Used to be in a band called “Full Circle” later renamed “Fountain of Circles”. Kinda funny synchronicity… we also wrote a song about the Psychic Barber a year or so ago:

    • WSB August 10, 2012 (10:39 pm)

      Thanks for sharing. Just listened. Guess there are those sightings in life that say to you either “That ought to be a song title” or “that ought to be a band name” …

  • D-mom August 10, 2012 (10:58 pm)

    I’m glad it’s a happy ending, but it sure doesn’t seem fair for a business of any kind to get a 30-day notice like that. Especially one that’s been there for 19 years!

  • Orion August 11, 2012 (12:26 am)

    Only 30 days notice ? Thats a shame that good neighborly manners so easily give way when MORE condos are exactly what west seattle needs.( sarcasm)

  • CanDo August 11, 2012 (6:13 am)

    I agree with Orion.

  • Ray West August 11, 2012 (6:51 am)

    What about those other two businesses in the same building? The non-invasive face lift and whatever the other one is/was. Or are they long-gone? I never did see any sign of activity at them. Was always curious about that.

    Good luck at your new/old location.

  • knm August 11, 2012 (7:51 am)

    This makes me sad for Shelly Aaron and WestSeattle BodyWorks right next door to the Psychic Barber.
    What a shame he was only given 30 days notice after 19 years of occupancy! Lame!

  • Cherry August 11, 2012 (8:05 am)

    Rick may not be psychic, but I bet he can tell when you need a haircut.

  • S August 11, 2012 (8:11 am)

    Will there be a Parrot in the shop again.

  • stacy August 11, 2012 (8:24 am)

    Seems like we are losing businesses and adding more condos. Sad!

    • WSB August 11, 2012 (8:34 am)

      Just for accuracy’s sake, since two commenters have used the terminology now: NO condos are being built, or planned, in West Seattle right now (nor almost anywhere else). Every builder is putting up apartments, aka rental units. Even back in 2008, some projects intended as condos were converted to apartments. I know it’s “same difference” to the point of multi-family residential development replacing older buildings, but in terms of whether the buildings will be occupied or not, it’s a potentially big difference. – TR

  • EdChurch August 11, 2012 (10:36 am)

    While Rick was just given his official 30 days notice by the property owner, I’m sure he has known about this for some time. I doubt the property owner just sprung this on the businesses in the building.

    • WSB August 11, 2012 (11:21 am)

      Yes, he mentioned that, and certainly all renters know that things can change. This story wasn’t by any means intended as a complaint story – hope it didn’t come off that way. He didn’t even initiate contact with us; we happened upon the fact this was happening, and I contacted him asking him if he’d mind if we did a story. Didn’t know it was an even more interesting story (the full-circle part) than originally suspected! – TR

  • Peter August 11, 2012 (1:44 pm)

    Love Classic Barber. They’re the best around. I’m happy things are working out for all of them.

  • DW August 11, 2012 (6:41 pm)

    Shelly Aaron of West Seattle Body Works has known for sometime that this day was coming. Over a year ago, she mentioned to me that she was starting to look for a new location. Sadly there are not a lot of small, affodable studio spaces available. Shelly is a well love fitness coach, massusse and yoga instructor. Her groups will follow her where ever she settles in West Seattle.

    Love the Psychic Barber sign. It will be sad to see it go.

  • ws bred August 12, 2012 (8:58 pm)

    I need a psychic barber

  • Rae August 13, 2012 (11:28 am)

    I hope the collegues are happy to keep the psychic barber sign. It is part of the sights of my home “town”.

Sorry, comment time is over.