Wes Sykes has been going to Cheatham and Moore Barber Shop for at least 25 years now, ever since he moved to Indianapolis.
He goes to the same barber every time, too: Bill Barnett, who’s worked at Cheatham and Moore since 1968.
“Bill is the nicest person I’ve ever met,” Sykes, 75, said as he got his hair trimmed on a rainy afternoon. “He’s genuinely nice. Everybody likes him. He’s sincere and transparent, and I really enjoy his company.”
Barnett smiled, laughed and said it’s friends like Sykes who make him appreciative of all the years he’s spent cutting hair.
That’s the thing about Cheatham and Moore. It seems everyone has roots in the business that stretch decades deep, and there’s pride in being part of an establishment that keeps it family-friendly.
Swearing isn’t allowed, and there’s a sign that reads “NO PROFANITY” hanging on the wall in case anyone needs a reminder.
“The conversation here is always informative,” Sykes said “never vulgar.”
That’s the way city-county council member Monroe Gray Jr. remembers it from when he worked there.
“That has always been the policy,” said Gray, 76, who started working there when he was 25 and left about 20 years ago. “Total respect. A lot of families there.”
Cheatham and Moore recently celebrated 40 years at its current location at 3828 N. Illinois St.
Leodis Moore Sr., who’s owned the business since 1999, joined the original owner, Owen Cheatham, in 1965 when the shop was on Clifton Street on the north side. Cheatham retired in 1999 and sold his share of the business to Moore, who’s now the sole owner.
“You wouldn’t be ashamed to bring your son or daughter, your mother or father, your preacher, your teacher,” Moore said. “You just wouldn’t be ashamed to bring anybody here because we don’t allow a lot of things.”
Moore said the barber shop isn’t a Christian business but that there’s a Christian atmosphere.
“You can read your Bible and talk about it in here,” he said.
Moore likes to think of the business as more than a barber shop where you can get a haircut for $16 and then start getting a little discount when you turn 65 and another one when you turn 72.
Moore likes talking about some of the athletes and politicians who have sat in his chairs over the years — Pacers great Reggie Miller, for example — but he also said he doesn’t publicize those patrons because he wants Cheatham and Moore to be known as a place that serves common people.
Along with Moore and Barnett, who have been at the barber shop for a combined 107 years, Moore’s son, Leodis Moore Jr., has been in the business for about 35 years.
In 2016, Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Homecoming Committee inducted the elder Moore into the organization’s Hall of Fame.
“Your business has devoted hours encouraging, helping and mentoring young men,” the recognition reads.
The plaque is hanging on the wall at Cheatham and Moore, along with numerous other pieces of history.
“It’s been a good history,” Moore said. “We’re trying to keep it that way.”
Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.
Wes Sykes gets his hair cut by Bill Barnett at Cheatham and Moore Barber Shop, which recently celebrated 40 years at its location on North Illinois Street. (Photo/Tyler Fenwick)