El Continental was one of if not the first shops in all of Arizona to do men’s hairstyling in the way we think of it today. In 1958, Edmond “Pop” Roffler brought advanced European haircutting methods to America, and translated them to fit American taste and style. Before that scissoring and clipper cuts dominated the landscape — crew cuts and flattops and the like. Entirely new and different, Roffler’s use of the straight razor to cut and blend the lengths of hair caught on quickly as he taught others his technique. In Novemer 1963, our founder Dale was working at the UA barber shop (University Barber Shop), whose employees Roffler trained himself; Dale learned his skills from them.
The owner of University Barber Shop had 2 shops, and their landlord worked together with the landlord at the brand-new El Conquistador Mall to open El Continental Barbershop in Januray 1964, across from the Montgomery Ward. Dale became the manager, and after a short time, bought the shop from Perry Kincheloe in 1966.
Styles lengthened, with inspirations from Hollywood, Peter Gunn, and the Beatles — pompadours, sweep looks and smooth looks became popular. The Sebring system (with products and techniques) was introduced shortly after that, and El Continental’s staff was trained within the Sebring system. Paul Newman, Chuck Connors, Peter Laurence, Peter Lawford, and other stars were all proponents.
Fast forward thirty years to November 2000, when our little shop had hired Sharon (and brought a mani/pedi service with her), we moved over by Macy’s, to make room for Target & Home Depot. In 2001, we moved next to Macy’s and stayed for another 10 ½ years. When Macy’s closed in 2010, the writing was on the wall – El Continental Barber Shop, at 5 El Con, was one of the first in, and one of the last out. We were there for 47 ½ years.
So in 2011, we moved to the new address due to its proximity to the old location, being on the main drag that is Speedway, and its proximity to the UA. We completely redid the interior to maximize functional space, working with Rick Bright architecture (the builder was Barker-Morrissey).
Over the last 50-or-so years, our employees have done a quarter million haircuts apiece, on average.
Throughout our time in Tucson, we’ve been an active part of the Tucson Community and gladly support these local organizations or branches:
- Easter Seals Blake Foundation –
- The Tucson Boys and Girls Clubs –
- The Pride of Arizona –
- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) / Team In Training –
Thank you for your patronage, which allows us to support these organizations, and makes Tucson a better place to live. See you soon!