SNOHOMISH — The Stag Barbershop has new digs and a new opinionated owner.
Bob Martin, the rogue barber who became a symbol of conservative resistance in the pandemic, has put down his clippers.
After five decades in the corner of a shopping plaza on Avenue D, the small three-chair shop where Martin reigned is empty. Gone are the taxidermy animal trophies on the wall, American flag barber capes and lighted barber pole.
The shop relocated about a mile away, near downtown on Avenue C.
“I’m retired,” Martin, 82, told The Daily Herald this week. “I’m working around the house.”
The new owner is Tony Henry, a familiar face at the previous shop.
“He’d been there for about 10 years,” Martin said. “Him and his wife are going to run it. Time for somebody else to take the reins. I wanted someone to carry on the legacy.”
Henry’s business card, which lists his name as “Tony Boy,” reads: “The overly opinionated barber. Whiskey, Haircuts & Bull****,” without the asterisks.
Whiskey, not vaccines, was Martin’s defense against the virus that killed more than 6.9 million worldwide, which he called a hoax: “If they got a cold, I’ll give them a shot of whiskey. That will kill the germs,” he told media outlets.
Henry’s shop, in a modest building set back from the road, also houses The Hatter’s Tattoo Emporium. According to the state’s Department of Licensing, Anthony Henry holds a barber license and Jana Henry has a tattoo artist license.
The shop was buzzing on a recent visit, filled with patrons waiting for a haircut or cloaked in flag barber capes.
“This is what it’s going to be like as it was like for however many years,” said Henry, who was too busy to talk that day.
While other salons shuttered during the governor’s stay-home order, Martin opened his doors in public defiance. People lined up on the sidewalk, eagerly paying $10 or $20 to get coiffed by the three barbers inside.
Martin ignored cease-and-desist orders and continued cutting hair long after the state revoked his license. In April of this year, he was on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” cutting KTTH radio talk show host Jason Rantz’s hair.
“They can’t stop me from working,” Martin told Carlson, who has since been dismissed from Fox News.
The state said Martin was on the hook for the $90,000 in fines he racked up for defying the mandate.
“We have attached a lien to his house so when/if it’s sold someday, the fine will be paid to us,” licensing spokesperson Christine Anthony told The Herald earlier this year.
“They can’t come after me,” Martin said this week. “The whole thing was illegal from the get-go. The science was bogus.”