Murphy's Barber Shop in Tucker closed its doors over Christmas, and its owner of 48 years, Neal Murphy, is going into retirement. "It was time," Murphy told Patch in a brief interview. "I just turned 70 so it felt right."
Born in Alabama, Murphy started cutting hair there for a couple of years before moving to Tucker in the early 1960s and opening his own place on Main Street. He's been there ever since, living exactly one mile away.
Asked what changes he's seen in town over the years, Murphy replied: "I've seen three different high schools (built in the same spot). There were no four-lane roads, apart from the highway. Chamblee-Tucker Road, Lawrenceville Highway, LaVista, all those had just two lanes."
Murphy recalls that until the late '60s, passenger trains with diner cars used to come through town, instead of just the freight trains you see now. "You used to have to wait for them all the time (to cross the tracks)," he said.
"There was only one Cofer brother back then," Murphy remembered. "The store was on both sides of the track and extended all the way to where Local 7 and Hearth & Patio are now. You could buy groceries there."
"I had gone to Neal since I was four years old. I am now 52," customer Clint Demetriou told Patch in an email. "Neal knows so much about the people and happenings of Tucker."
Murphy was known for giving military haircuts in the absence of specific instructions. He displayed old newspaper articles on the walls and collected glassware. There was no telephone on the premises because he didn't want to answer questions about how long the wait might be.
"So, he has decided to hang up his clippers," said Marc Lisenby, owner of Master Building Services which, coincidentally, has also been around for 48 years. "Murphy's is an iconic barber shop on Main Street and he is a cheery but quiet fellow. His collection of Coca Cola bottles is legendary! He will be sincerely missed."
Were you one of Murphy's customers? What can you tell us about him? Please share in the comments below-