Krebsbach (third from the left) in barber school
'Bob the Barber' celebrates 50 years
By Liz McGovern
Bob Krebsbach — or Bob the Barber, the man who has given more than 367,000 haircuts to the Marquette community — is celebrating his 50th anniversary at the barbershop in Straz Tower. Krebsbach has cut the hair of countless Marquette students, alumni and Jesuits, including current Interim President Robert A. Wild, S.J.
Campus, and barbering, for that matter, has changed quite a bit in five decades. There used to be about eight shops on campus, but, as time passed, several closed. Krebsbach's tough (but loveable) attitude keeps him cutting.
"The meaner you are, the more our customers like it," Krebsbach says. "It's our mantra."
Business was especially hard in the '60s when men wore long hair.
"We had four full-time barbers across the hall from us. In the '60s, long hair came out, and we went down to two barbers," he says. "We were poor."
Daughter and successor Chris SanFelippo says many things have changed in 50 years, but her dad's business principles have held fast.
"What hasn't changed? His attitude," SanFelippo says.
The barbershop is a family business. SanFelippo runs the shop. Krebsbach's granddaughter, Taylor Krebsbach, is a hair stylist. They all maintain Krebsbach's model of customer service.
"Everyone gets treated the same here," SanFelippo says. "It doesn't matter if you're the Marquette president or the district attorney."
Krebsbach has formed close friendships with many Marquette Jesuits through the years, even if they don't get special treatment. It's a common conception that priests are serious, but he loves to "goof around" with the Jesuits.
"Father Wild is a very funny man. He loves to kid around, but you probably wouldn't think that," he says. "He comes in here and talks with people."
As for Krebsbach, he has no plans to retire any time soon.
"I would never leave at this point," he says. "I have a ball with people."