Mark Young, 31, doesn't like a "lot of pomp and circumstance" when he gets his hair cut.
The Arlandria Barbershop, with its wooden floors and worn leather barber chairs, fits his style.
Shop owner Bob Williams says he offers "good prices, precision cuts, pretty quick service most days, and a laugh or two."
The $7 price also includes your choice of Fishing Facts, Time or Playboy magazines to read. The country music is free.
"I feel more at ease here than in a unisex shop, and I like to support my local community merchants," said Young, who brings his sons to the shop.
Many barbers in Northern Virginia, battling long hair, escalating shop rents and an increase in unisex salons with evening hours, have developed personal touches to keep their clientele.
Walt Ferrebee, owner of the Buckingham Barber Shop in Arlington, charges senior citizens, who account for 70 percent of his business, only $5, a dollar off his regular price.
"Lots of my customers are on fixed incomes, and you have just got to keep it reasonable," he said.
William Smith, who has been a customer of Ferrebee's for 25 years, said, "When Walt retires, I am going to let my hair grow."
When Ferrebee's longstanding customers are too sick to get to the shop, he goes on his day off to the hospital or their homes to cut their hair.
"These men are my friends and have kept me in business, and I am going to help them out as long as I can," he said.
Willard's Family Hair Center in Falls Church does men's and women's hair and stocks a big selection of the latest grooming products. Willard Edwards, 58, also does children's first haircuts for free and takes "before and after" pictures for them to take home.
Like a proud grandfather, he displays an album of his customers' photos on a table in the waiting area. And he can tell you all about the families whose hair he has cut for four generations.
Sarah Cuneo, owner of Man's World in the Twin Bridges Marriott Motor Hotel, sends birthday cards to her customers, many of whom are executives and military personnel. "These men are on tight schedules, and this is one way we can express our appreciation for their patronage without taking up any of their time," she said.
Referrals and fashion consciousness can start at an early age. Stephen Erickson, 10, went to the Belleview Barber Shop for his flattop after a friend recommended it. "It's cooler and all my friends are getting them," he said.
For many customers, the bottom line is money. Joe Daly, a regular customer at Buckingham Barber Shop, said, "My wife spends $50 to get her hair cut, so I spend $6." --