By Peggy Mackenzie
There’s no shortage of men who need haircuts – never will be. Even as convenience chop-shops have appeared on the scene in malls, the local barbershop is an awesome thing that won’t go away. It’s where real men go for a professional haircut.
Barbers have been around for centuries and were known during the Middle Ages as barber-surgeons, who took on such tasks as pulling teeth, setting bones and treating wounds. The iconic red and white striped barber pole is linked to bloodletting, a common treatment performed by barbers for a wide range of maladies, from sore throat to plague. The red represented blood and white represented the bandages used to stem the bleeding. Nowadays, no one wanting a shave needs to worry about a barber drawing blood.
How long has it been since a new barbershop opened up in Lewisburg? The ‘70s? Lewisburg is lucky to have had a long run of two or three barbershops in town all within a half block radius. For the past eight and a half years, Jeremy Hill has been cutting hair at Flanagan’s Barbershop on Washington Street West. This month he opened up his own shop, Jeremy’s Barbershop, around the corner on Court Street North.
The wall TV isn’t up yet and the table for the on-going card game hasn’t been set up in the corner, either, but they soon will be. Hill, at 34, expects he has 20 to 30 more years to get his shop looking just right for the local “loafers.” Its the loafers who populate barbershops that signal the success of any given shop, and assure any newcomer that the barber is a good one. Like all barbershops, conversations abound about sports, local politics, town events and, let’s face it, women. These gatherings are part of what makes the barbershop an essential meeting place for men in any community, big or small. No matter what – hair’s gotta get cut, and the news of the day’s gotta get shared.
Having cut hair for a total of 11 years, Hill received his training at the Charleston Barber School in Charleston, the only barber school still in the state. Hill, who grew up as a “West End kid” and now resides in Covington, says he remembers watching Tommy Lemon cut hair when he was a youngster. That was when he decided to become a barber. He liked the idea of the life of a barber, enjoying the stimulating male camaraderie while working.
“I usually know what kind of haircut a customer wants,” he said, making sure to ask at the first visit. Ever afterward, he remembers what look each customer is expecting to get. Seasonal changes do happen, he says, shorter during the summer months, and sometimes a Mohawk is requested during football season. It’s difficult for a woman to appreciate how it is that men can just walk into a barber shop, sit down and get their hair cut, trimmed, or shaved within a half hour without an appointment.
“A haircut is $11, no matter how little or much is cut off,” Hill says, and it usually takes just 15 minutes. A shave, however, is another animal entirely; something more like a specialty spa treatment lasting a half hour, that includes hot towels, a facial and a neck massage, and only costs $15.
“He doesn’t like to rush through something like a shave,” said a longtime customer. Reservations are needed for a shave. Call at 304-667-6898.
Having just opened his doors for business last Monday, Hill’s customers have followed him to Court Street. As a one-chair shop, he is on his feet from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. servicing a steady stream of heads all day long. He plans to add two more chairs eventually, to use to train apprentices. All in all, Jeremy’s Barbershop promises to be a hub for haircuts for many years to come. You can find him at 845 Court Street North, a couple of doors down from the Lewis Theatre. Just look for the barber pole out front.