HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -
The ring of an older landline telephone is a familiar sound inside Charles Wallace's barbershop. A man who's been cutting hair for nearly 50 years, Wallace is eager to chat with anybody.
The conversation of senators and talking heads on television cut through buzzing clippers. President Barack Obama campaign posters hang on the wall among photos of several Harrisburg politicians. It's easy to see Wallace's favorite topic of shop talk is politics, specifically the Harrisburg political scene.
"The mayor's job is pretty tough, no matter who gets it," said Wallace. "When the economy is bad, people tighten up the pocketbooks."
Wallace doesn't shy away from talking about the mayoral race when people sit down in his chair. He listens to opinions about candidates, and as ranking senior citizen in the community, he's seen it all.
In 1972, the waters of Hurricane Angus flooded his barbershop. A short time later, his business was burned in a fire. Wallace has survived the recessions of yesteryear and the present. What has stood the test of time for him is customer service.
Wallace offered a lollipop to a young boy after the boy's father brought him inside just to say "hi" to "Uncle Charles."
So, you can see Wallace practices what he preaches when he explains relationships are key whether its business or politics.
"Everything has to be in consistency with what ya gonna do," he said. "People have to buy into it."
From Allison Hill to Downtown, businesses like Capital Shoe Repair on Second Street are eagerly waiting the outcome of Tuesday's primary election.
Sparks flew as Alex Card shaped the heel on a stiletto. Son of owner Lee Card, Alex has been working towards taking over the family business since he was eight years old.
This fourth generation cobbler explained Harrisburg's next mayor must be like a well-made pair of shoes: comfortable and built to last – a good investment.
"If you stretch your dollar further, you can get more of your investment," he said.
Card said whether voters elect Linda Thompson, Dan Miller, Eric Papenfuse, Lewis Butts or Nevin Mindlin, the mayor must have a big vision on the small businesses.
"It does help us because we're also helping people save some money," he said.
The May primary is Tuesday, May 21. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.