'Flattops with eyes closed'
By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor
I first learned about Lisa Rohrbach - then Thornton - from an unidentified man while having breakfast at the OST.
I'm guessing the guy was ex-military because he sported the best flattop ever, sharp and precisely squared-off. Having even less hair on my head than on his, I was excited to learn the woman who had created such a marvel worked in Bandera. That meant no drives to Kerrville or Boerne to get my tresses - or rather what was left of them - sheared.
And the guy assured me, "She's a barber. She's a woman, but she's a barber."
I quickly scurried over to a shop on Highway 16 North and made an appointment. Since then I've followed Rohrbach and her magic shears to the shopping area by the Ice House and to the current location of A Cut Above at 411 Main Street, where she's held court for six years. Faithfully, for the last 10 years - give or take a cut or two - Rohrbach's buzzed me monthly.
I came late to the party, however, because she's now onto her fourth generation of clients. "I cut the hair of whole families from little kids to their grandparents - and all the relatives, too."
A native of Alvin, Rohrbach started in the barbering business 30 years ago. In fact, while sitting in her chair recently, Chief Deputy Richard Smith of the Bandera County Sheriff's Office remarked, "You used to cut my hair in Arcola when I was the police chief." "I couldn't believe he remembered me," she said, "That was the first year I started doing hair."
After Arcola, Rohrbach worked at a shop near Houston, then it was back to her hometown for a stint at Sebring Hair Design.
"I always wanted to do hair because I love people," she explained. "This is one job where I get to talk to them all day - and get paid for it!"
For this reason, Rohrbach's shop is one of the friendliest places in town - she's never met a stranger.
And if you want to get the scoop on anything happening in the area, go to A Cut Above or to the Courier. And, always remember, what goes on in both places, stays in both places!
A couple of years ago, Rohrbach redecorated her shop's interior, resulting in an interesting assemblage of western and country collectibles - with a smattering of vintage hair styling tools thrown in for good measure. The shop is pure Rohrbach - and pure Bandera.
Her collection includes old rodeo photographs, cowboy hats and lariats; a huge rattlesnake skin; a framed 1900 postcard of a Victorian cowgirl; and a 1940 dome hair dryer, as well as an array of curling irons, razors and a well-used razor strop.
However, Rohrbach's pride and joy is a pair of original Bandera Bulldog football jerseys. "The one from 1942 is orange and white, but the school switched colors to navy blue and white during World War II. That's the colors of the 1945 jersey," Rohrbach said. The coveted jerseys were given to her by client Alfred Anderwald.
Now, the redecorating has extended to the shop's exterior. A new sign that went up Wednesday, August 15, was hand painted by Demaris Wilson, a sergeant at the Bandera County Jail, and hoisted up by Mondo Serna of AIM Construction. The sign depicts a big-haired blond cowgirl and her trusty six-shooter. The image is singularly appropriate for Rohrbach because, taped to her mirror, is an article with he headline: "Hairstylist shoots unsatisfied customer."
With the addition of stylist Mary Nicholas on Wednesdays, A Cut Above has morphed into a full-service style salon. "Although on Wednesdays, you don't know if this is a salon or saloon," Nicholas quipped. That's when thirst-quenching margaritas are offered to clients old enough to indulge in refreshing adult beverages.
Another not-to-be-missed perk is a Customer Appreciation Day celebrated the Wednesday before Christmas. The menu features tasty venison chili and all the trimmings - including cold beer. Serving starts at 11 am and those who come late are doomed to disappointment.
Salon - not saloon - services include perms, highlights, coloring and, of course, hair cuts. In fact, as both Rohrbach and Nicholas made perfectly clear, "We do flattops with our eyes closed." And, as a sign proclaims, another specialty of the house is "repairing homemade haircuts."
Hair care products are also available at A Cut Above and a variety of scented candles created by Bandera's Barbara Lindsey make great gifts.
So, anyone looking for a welcoming atmosphere, lots of laughs, an occasional adult beverage and reasonable prices for excellent services are advised to visit to A Cut Above. And, cowboys and cowgals can even bring their steeds as Rohrbach's been known to trim a horse's tail if asked nicely.
A Cut Above is open 8:30 am to 5 pm, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 8:30 am to noon, Saturday; and 8:30 to whenever, Wednesday - it's the late night. Telephone is 830-796-9194.
Pictured: The Three Amigas from A Cut Above are, from left, Mary Nicolas, Demaris Wilson and owner Lisa Rohrbach.