A Cut Above: Yukon barber has tallied 300K haircuts since ’64

Jim Hedrick strives to treat people nice, keep gossip to a minimum

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Yukon barber Jim Hedrick has specialized in cutting hair for men and boys. He says he’s done “at least” 300,000 haircuts since starting in February 1964. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Jim Hedrick estimates he’s done “at least” 300,000 haircuts since becoming a barber.

Hedrick started cutting men’s hair some 58-1/2 years ago when a haircut cost $1.50.

“I’ve enjoyed the barber business tremendously,” Hedrick said. “Barbering has been very good to me. I’ve always lived a good life and lived in nice homes. My kids never wanted for anything.”

When Hedrick started as a barber, there were three types of men’s haircuts – regular, flat-top and butch.

“We had to go back to school and learn how to cut the long hair,” he shared. “We used to cut with a razor, then went back to school and learned how to cut with scissors and do layered cuts.”

Hedrick learned to cut hair with the Roffler sculpture razor style and Markham sculpture cut (named after celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring’s protégé, Jim Markham).

“I’ve been through all aspects of the barber business, and I’ve loved every bit of it,” Hedrick said. “But I’m too old now. I come down here about three mornings a week.”

Bodie Mankin, John Waldrip and Leslie Ward also cut hair at A Barber Shop.

“We can do about any kind of haircut there is – we can do it,” Hedrick said. “What we didn’t know how to do, we went back to class and learned how to do.

“So, we’re not behind times, we’re up with the times. We do what’s popular.”

A haircut today costs $15.

A native of Geary, Hedrick moved to Yukon in the early ‘60s when the town’s population was about 3,400.

“I’ve watched it grow up and spread out,” he said. “They’re just building everywhere.”

In 1963, Hedrick started attending the State Barber College in south Oklahoma City while working nights at a Yukon Main Street service station.

After completing barber school in February 1964, Hedrick went to work at Penn Square Barber Shop.

That lasted just five weeks. Then, Billie Lum hired him at her Yukon Main Street barber shop.

“I went to work at Billie’s Barber Shop on April 3, 1964,” Hedrick recalled. “I remember it very distinctly. I worked there five years and eventually became half-owner of it.

“Then I sold her back my half and bought the barber shop in Town Plaza when Jim Snyder had the grocery store there. I was there from March of ’69 until I sold it in 1980.”

Hedrick left barbering to work in the oil field business before returning in 1985 to help Butch and Jerri Conine open a new barber shop on the northwest corner of Vandament and Cornwell.

“I worked for Jerri and was there for five years,” he said.

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‘FIRST ONE IN THE PHONE BOOK’

Then in November 1990, Hedrick leased space in a building at 503 W Vandament to open his own barber shop. He’s been there ever since.

Hedrick’s wife Sheila cut hair at the shop for about 10 years. He has three children, two who graduated from Yukon High School and the other from Okarche.

Hedrick explained why he named his business A Barber Shop.

“So, it would be the first one in the phone book,” he said. “We had phone books back then. And it worked.”

Over the past 32 years, A Barber Shop has had a loyal clientele of satisfied customers.

“I’ve still got customers whose parents brought them to me when they were five or six years old,” Hedrick said. “Now, they’re bringing their great-grandkids to me. I’ve had a wonderful bunch of customers over the years.

“I’ve had a good rapport with my customers all these years. Like George and Fenton Ramey. I’ve cut their hair ever since I started.”

Richard Blake was his longest-term customer.

“I worked for his dad while I was going to barber college,” Hedrick related. “Back then, his dad Charlie had a DX service station where Braums is now. He paid for everything for me to go through barber college.

“I cut his hair until he died and was never able to give him a free haircut.”

With more than 58 years in the business, Hedrick is Yukon’s ranking barber in terms of service and longevity.

His late brother-in-law Don White, who owned Midway Barber Shop in downtown Yukon for about six decades, lasted even longer.

Hedrick’s first job in Yukon was at Kirkegard Hardware store.

On his 21st birthday one Sunday morning in 1960, he borrowed a hardware loading wagon to help White and his partner move their barber chairs across the street to their new barber shop at 4th and Main.

After White’s passing, Yukon police officer Scott Franklin took over Midway Barber Shop.

Hedrick has embraced his time cutting hair and running a small business in Yukon.

“I’m really thankful for the camaraderie and making my customers feel good,” he said. “I’ve always been real staunch about being on time, clean, speaking to the customers in a positive manner, and treating people nice.

“You can always tell if you’ve done your job, they’ll come back. And your job is more than giving them a haircut. If they don’t like you, they aren’t coming back. I don’t give a darn how good the haircut is.”

Any other advice?

“Keep the gossip to a minimum. Lots of stories go around in a barber shop.”

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