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HOMETOWN: Williams Lake’s sharp-dressed barber

Uncle Tony hosts pop-up barbershop around the community, helping people look good
Tony Moberg usually looks sharp in a three-piece suit when he’s working on clients in his 1961 barber chair originally from the Belmont Hotel in Vancouver. (Ruth Lloyd/Williams Lake Tribune)

Tony Moberg likes being a barber in a three-piece suit for more than just the dressing up.

“I like that people are in a good mood here,” he said, noting it’s not just the clients who leave feeling good, but also his co-workers in the space.

“No grumpy tradesmen,” he joked, because he used to be one himself, having worked in residential construction for 10 years and then as a welder.

Moberg said he feels tradesmen often have a very thankless job, especially working as a contractor, so he appreciates getting to know people in his job as a barber.

The 44-year-old was born and raised in Williams Lake and went into residential construction, working in the Lower Mainland for 10 years, when he decided to return to his hometown to get his welding ticket. He planned to return temporarily, but instead he met his future wife, and ended up staying.

The couple had two children, Raiden, 9, and Carver, 7. Moberg says his sons like to play hockey, snowboard, mountain bike, dirt bike and golf.

“I keep them moving,” he said.

When he’s not chasing after his sons, he works on his house and spends time at the gym.

While working as a welder, Moberg said the idea to become a barber sort of sprouted from when he was getting his hair cut. He said the barber was having a good day and had a pocket full of cash, and the memory stuck with him.

In 2019, he started up his own barber shop out of his house on South Lakeside, calling it Uncle Tony’s Barber Shop after his sister posted photos of his nephews after they got hair cuts.

Now he has a shop in the downtown on Second Avenue, but Moberg isn’t just rooted on the spot.

His first mobile barber trial happened when he went camping in the summer and brought his barber supplies with him.

He cut hair part-time and had enough fun and success doing it that he decided to do it again and set up for two weeks the next time, calling it Chopped at Chimney. This year, he’ll be hoping for good weather when he returns to Chimney Lake again July 7-21. “It’s as close as I’ll get to a paid vacation as a self-employed man,” he said.

His mobile services also include doing home service for those with mobility issues, visiting Deni House to service residents there and during the summer farmer’s market season, he sets up for the Williams Lake Farmer’s Market every Tuesday, 2-7 p.m., weather permitting.

“I’m a fair weather barber only,” he said.

Though he does have suits for the seasons, those three-piece suits aren’t waterproof, so he prefers to stay dry.

Moberg loves his hometown, where he’s settled back in for the long haul, enough so he has a tattoo of Signal Point on his arm. He said he loves the smell of the forest, and the outdoor activities he can enjoy.

“It’s like the last of the wild west,” he said, adding he has a fascination with local history.

When asked about his love for dressing up, he said when he was five years old, he told his mom when he grew up he was going to dress like Victor Newman from The Young and the Restless. As a barber, at first he would just put on a suit to work Saturdays, but people liked it, so he began doing it all the time. He said the suit goes well with his 1961 barber chair, which was brought to Williams Lake by the German-born barber Otto Guenther.

For many years it sat in the basement of the Lakeview Hotel, but just before the building burnt down, his aunt had moved it into her basement.

It sat there for 20 years before Moberg told her he about becoming a barber, when she offered it to him.

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Ruth Lloyd

About the Author: Ruth Lloyd

I moved back to my hometown of Williams Lake after living away and joined the amazing team at the Williams Lake Tribune in 2021.
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