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Brentwood hair salon, barbershop Royal Razor set for final cut

Laura Van Wert | South Hills Record - Don and Darlene Savannah of Whitehall will retire from their business, the Royal Razor, after 40 years. The Savannahs cut racing stripes, mowhawks and mullets on four generations of customers.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Laura Van Wert | South Hills Record</em></div>Don and Darlene Savannah of Whitehall will retire from their business, the Royal Razor, after 40 years. The Savannahs cut racing stripes, mowhawks and mullets on four generations of customers.
Laura Van Wert | South Hills Record - Don Savannah, owner of the Royal Razor in Brentwood, cuts Kevin Clancy's hair on Jan. 4. Clancy is a long-time customer.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Laura Van Wert | South Hills Record </em></div>Don Savannah, owner of the Royal Razor in Brentwood, cuts Kevin Clancy's hair on Jan. 4. Clancy is a long-time customer.
Laura Van Wert | South Hills Record - Don Savannah, owner of the Royal Razor in Brentwood, cuts Kevin Clancy's hair on Jan. 4. Clancy is a long-time customer.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Laura Van Wert | South Hills Record </em></div>Don Savannah, owner of the Royal Razor in Brentwood, cuts Kevin Clancy's hair on Jan. 4. Clancy is a long-time customer.

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By Laura Van Wert
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:56 p.m.
 

Friendly customers are what Don and Darlene Savannah will miss most about their business.

“We've probably had four generations in our chairs,” Darlene Savannah said. “It's been really good to us.”

And Don agrees.

“A lot of nice people came here,” he said.

Don and Darlene Savannah will retire from the Royal Razor, a hair salon and barbershop located on Brownsville Road in Brentwood, after 40 years on Jan. 31. A friend of the Savannahs will open his own hair salon in the Royal Razor's location on Feb. 1.

The Savannahs plan to enjoy retirement by taking it slow at first, Darlene said.

“We're going to play it by ear,” she said. “We'll just kind of get used to living without being on the clock.”

The Savannahs, Whitehall residents, opened the Royal Razor in October 1972, when a haircut cost about $3.75, Darlene Savannah said. Darlene ran it for eight years before Don joined her regularly.

When the Savannahs had their son, Mark, they would bring him to work with them, where customers would talk to and play with him, Darlene said. Likewise, the Savannahs cut hair for and formed relationships with four generations of family members.

Kevin Clancy of Baldwin Borough said he started getting his hair cut at the Royal Razor years ago.

“My girls were at St. Sylvester School and they're in college now,” Clancy said.

Clancy and several other long-time customers came and went on Jan. 4. Everyone was on a first-name basis, and the conversation ranged from stories about high school sports to local crime.

“Some of the things that happened here, I can't even believe it,” Don said.

Some of the more extreme hair trends requested at the Royal Razor during the last 40 years include racing stripes like rapper Vanilla Ice had in the early 1990s, mohawks and mullets, they said.

“(Racing stripes) were so against everything that we were taught,” Darlene said. “(Mullets) weren't the dreaded thing that they are today.”

The Royal Razor also sold men's hairpieces for a while, too, Don said.

Famous clients included Craig “Porky” Chedwick, and a Steelers defender whose name Don Savannah said he couldn't remember.

Working as a husband-and-wife team always went well, said Don, though the question of how they work together made people in the room laugh.

“We're still married. I'll tell you that,” said Darlene, with a laugh.

Still, the Savannahs will close the Royal Razor with mixed emotions.

“I don't even think I'll drive by here for a while. I'll have to drive around,” said Darlene, adding that she tears up easily. “I can't think of any place else I'd rather have been ... I'll miss the people.”

Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at lvanwert@tribweb.com.

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