DECATUR – J. Hugh Looney chose a profession that
requires long hours. He also chose to make sure that his
profession is not the only thing that takes up his time
because he remains active at work and at play at age 78.
The Morgan County native has been a Decatur fi xture in the
hair styling business for most of his adult life. Looney’s salon –
JHL & Associates Professional Haircare – has been located on
Sandlin Road for the past 27
years. Prior to that, his business
shared a location just off Sixth
Avenue with a pair of dentists.
“This is a profession that
takes a lot of hours. A 10-hour
day is nothing,” Looney said.
Yet he still fi nds plenty of
ways to fi ll the other hours of
the day. Snow skiing has been
a passion for nearly 50 years
and he also calls himself a
“gardener and a pretty decent
His life in the hair styling
business began soon after his
graduation from Tanner High School in the spring of 1961. He
took courses at Calhoun Community College – which was known
as Tennessee Valley Vocational School at the time – while in
high school. A month after high school graduation, he completed
barber school classes.
The education, however, was just beginning.
“I went to school all over the country,” Looney said. “I went
to barber school – we were still in fl at tops and that kind of stuff .
When I moved up to being a stylist, there weren’t a lot of people
to teach (you).”
For Looney, his progression from being a barber to a hair
stylist was about more than hair.
“You look at someone and
you to talk to them,” Looney said.
“You look at their head shape,
what their lifestyle is like and
put that together. It’s basically
knowing what they like. You learn
the basic diff erent personalities.
“It’s a lot of psychology and
sociology and what makes people
happy. Look sharp, feel sharp, be
sharp. It’s just as clear as it can
be. You have to be able to sell
what they’re looking for, not what
you’re looking for.”
His passion for skiing didn’t
necessarily begin with a family
trip to the northeast Alabama slopes at Mentone about 47 years
ago. However, it didn’t take that long for the passion to set in.