Bob’s Place to reopen in the Market Centre, sans founding barber Bob Shanks

WICHITA — Cosmetologist Tracy Carrington and barber Steven Dreiling are carrying on a Wichita tradition by reopening Bob’s Place.

“I was OK with retiring, but if Tracy wants to use the name, she’s perfectly welcome to it,” says Bob Shanks, who was a barber for more than 50 years in three buildings within four blocks of downtown.

The new shop is opening next month in the Market Centre at the southwest corner of First and Market.

Carrington began working with Shanks in 2009 and Dreiling started in 2012.

“We just wanted to … bring it back,” Carrington says of the Bob’s Place name.

“He’s just a huge mentor to me,” she says of Shanks.

“He was just a huge, huge part of my life. This is really … mostly to show my respect and love for him as a mentor.”

Shanks came from a family of barbers and stylists.

“The whole family has been in the hair business for about 250 years total time,” he says.

Unlike the rest of his family, Shanks says, “I didn’t want to work in the suburbs. I wanted to work in the business area.”

He says for years, he cut the hair of “CEOs of major companies and the presidents of major banks and heads of law firms.”

Shanks worked off the lobby of the Coronado Hotel on East William and in the building where the Ambassador Hotel is now. He moved to the Garvey Center about 15 years ago.

After suffering a stroke in 2012, Shanks was still off work when he received a letter in early 2013 saying that the Garvey Center wanted his space.

Carrington has been working at Mark Bells Salon since then, and Dreiling has been at South City Barber Shop.

They were able to keep the former Bob’s phone number for their new place: (316) 264-0454.

Bob’s reopens on June 2, and there will be a grand opening from 4 to 6 p.m. on June 4.

Shanks has already been by the new place for a visit.

“He was so happy,” Carrington says.

“Oh, my god. You should have seen it when he came in there,” she says. “He’s so thrilled.”

Shanks says that’s true.

“I think her new space will work out really well for her,” he says.

Shanks says retirement is working out all right for him, too, except for one thing.

“I don’t miss the tired back and the tired legs, but I really, really miss my clientele.”