Ed and Liz Stackhouse ride their stationary bikes outside their business, 33’s Barber Shop. (Photo by Suzette J. Lucas.)

People know 33’s Barber Shop owner Ed Stackhouse for his signature neon yellow T-shirt, his cheerful disposition and his successful business.

His outlook—and life—was not always so rosy.

“I was never expected to do much of anything,” said Stackhouse, who earned a GED. “I left school early. I got in trouble.”

That he recovered to become a successful businessman known for a high-energy style and dedication to his community speaks volumes about the man in charge of 33’s. He hasn’t quit, even when his chosen industry has dealt him tough times. Fittingly, 33’s is the third venture in his 22 year hair-care career.

The shop employs a staff of nine and is open seven days a week. The shop was named Hamilton’s 2010 New Business of the Year by Mayor John Bencivengo and the Hamilton Township Economic Development Advisory Commission.

He’s done it with a focus on community—primarily groups and organizations in Hamilton and Robbinsville—and often shares his earnings with athletic and charitable programs. Blood drives and other community service programs also are part of the fabric of his business.

“We’re geared to the family,” Stackhouse said. “We built it with the intent to go after kids and seniors, and everybody else would fall into place.”

Many senior citizens take advantage of the $8 senior haircut, which is available for men and women. He says the most popular service overall is the $11 buzzcut which is $4 to 5 less than the price for everybody else.

“It’s not easy times for people right now,” Stackhouse said. “The economy is struggling. People are out of work. [Many] haven’t had a raise in three years.

“If you can do volume, you don’t need to raise your price. I’d rather make a fast 5 [dollars] than a slow 20.”

These days, he can’t wait to go to work. He goes to bed around 7 p.m. and wakes up in plenty of time to be at 33’s Barber Shop for its 6 a.m. (weekdays) or 7 a.m. (weekends) daily openings.

“I’m an early bird,” he says. “If I can get in bed by 7, 7:30 at night I’m happy and ready to go in the morning.”

Once at work, he brings a piece of home with him, in the form of his wife, Liz. She’s also known for her neon shirts, but opts for pink instead of yellow.

“People say, ‘How can you work with your wife? Isn’t it awful spending so much time together at home and at work? I say, ‘It’s so wonderful,’” said Stackhouse, who noted that they spend between nine and 13 hours a day at the barber shop.

The Stackhouses, who met at Empire Beauty School, were married in a ceremony at the front of their business on bustling Route 33.

“Ed & Liz’s Neon Nuptials” took place on the ramp leading up to the barber shop and has been immortalized in a video slideshow mounted on one of the walls of the clean and family-friendly shop. “Ed & Liz ’09” is written in the cement walkway.

Stackhouse invited everyone—yes, everyone—to the Aug. 1, 2009 event.

“People still tell me, ‘I was at your wedding,’” said Stackhouse, referring to the open-to-the-community ceremony that united Ed and Liz and produced a family of seven, including their combined total of five children ranging in age from 12 to 17. “Cars were beeping as they were going by. We invited all of our customers.”

They both keep stationary bicycles—his yellow and hers pink—at the shop, and regardless of the weather, they are seen doing their daily workouts outside.

That he keeps his family close is an important part of business for Stackhouse, who came from meager beginnings and bases his business strategy on the importance of the relationship between the consumers and their community.

“I was on the other side of ‘giving back,’” said Stackhouse, who was the third oldest of seven children in a family that struggled to make ends meet in Chambersburg. “We received charity, whether it was the Salvation Army bringing Christmas presents or Holy Angels Church helping us at Thanksgiving. We know you have to give back. We’ve been blessed here. We’re all doing well.”

33’s Barber Shop is located at 1629 Route 33 in Hamilton Square. For information, go online to the33sbarbershop.com or call (609) 586-1996.