Twenty-seven years ago, a business icon was born in Gruetli-Laager. Rusty’s Barber and Style was established by Rusty Payne in 1990, and throughout the years citizens of Grundy County and the surrounding area have had the privilege of getting their hair cut by one of the greatest barbers/stylists in the area. Rusty is a native of Grundy County and considers the Gruetli-Laager area to be his home.
Rusty has been my barber ever since he first opened his doors twenty-seven years ago. As a ten-year-old child, I remembered climbing up into the barber’s chair and getting my hair cut by Rusty for the first time. Since then, at least once a month, I have sat in that same chair over and over again, and had every discussion imaginable with Rusty. From sports, to politics, to local happenings, there was no topic that did not enter into our conversations at one point or another. Rusty was one of the most kind and generous people that I have ever had the good fortune of meeting.
Over the years, Rusty contributed his time and money to almost every charity that came knocking. Whether it was Relay for Life, Miracle on the Mountain, or simply a local sports team, Rusty was always happy to donate to or help out any worthy cause. Rusty’s Barber and Style was a textbook example of a business that worked hand in hand with the local community in order to make our mountain a better place to live.
Rusty Payne will be deeply missed by the customers that he served so well for the past three decades. Rusty laughed with us when we were happy. He cried with us when we were sad and he sympathized with us when we lost members of our community. Rusty was a big part of our community and a person would be hard pressed to find anyone in Grundy County that did not know Rusty the barber.
To many of us who have gone to Rusty’s shop for so long, he was family to us and we were family to him. Rusty provided top quality service for his customers and he sincerely cared for those he served. However, perhaps the greatest service Rusty provided his customers was his willingness to lend us an ear while we sat and received a top notch hair cut. Rusty’s Barber and Style will be missed more than he will ever know