by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
Many customers of Jack’s Barbershop said they were planning to get their haircut when the North Third Street business opened for the day, Jan. 22. Unfortunately, it was the day after a destructive fire left the main floor of the 101-year-old structure under a pile of burned debris.
Suffice to say, many of Jack’s loyal customers waited and managed as long as they could. Some said they were almost to the point where they couldn’t wait any longer, when owners Jack and Andy Myers reopened at their new location. They are in the southwest corner of the building that houses Great Lakes Realty and Dr. Russell Fairbank’s chiropractic office.
Eric Brege was the first customer on Monday.
“I still remember who my first customer was. It was Alvin Knopf,” said Jack, who has been cutting hair in Rogers City for 49 years. It’ll be 50 years on Nov. 1. Jack is supposed to be retired, but continues to work with his son.
So much is the same. The square-footage is nearly identical and the barbershop chairs are in the same spots.
Andy’s chair, which is the original used when Jack opened in 1963, is on the Third Street side, while Jack’s is to the inside. The waiting chairs are new and against the same wall and the entryway is where it was before.
“It’s set up almost the same,” said Andy.
It has a more bright and modern look, with shiny new countertops, cupboards and more windows for light to get in, but there are many reminders of the old place with shoulder mounts on the walls and the old barbershop pole.
Firefighters and community members raced to get all the items out of the business, before fire reached that side of the building. About 95 percent of the items were salvaged. The barbershop pole was one of the last things taken off the building. Good thing, it saved the Myers $900, the cost to purchase a new one.
“She don’t work now,” said Andy with a laugh. “The light goes on, but she don’t spin. Its half there.” They’ve got their monies worth after a half century.
To reopen, Andy said they put in a lot of overtime and got some help from State Rep. Peter Pettalia’s office, who wrote a letter of recommendation. Andy continued to make a couple of phone calls a day, until finally the new shop license was issued.
“I still have some things to do. I have to get an air conditioner and eventually I’m going to get a big window like the other place,” said Andy. “The customers have liked the improvements.”
Next week they will be back to their usual hours and the doors will be open Tuesday to Saturday.