12/30/11 — Barbershop partners retiring after 47 years behind the chair

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Barbershop partners retiring after 47 years behind the chair

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 30, 2011 1:46 PM

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J.R. Daughtry, left, cuts Wayne Blizzard's hair while Noble Hudson, background left, gives a haircut to Steve L. Herring at Jefferson Park Barber Shop in Goldsboro. After 47 years, thousands of haircuts, and even more laughs the barber shop is closing its doors later today. Hudson and Daughtry are retiring.

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This advertisement ran in The News-Argus in 1964, the year J.R. Daughtry and Noble Hudson went into business together.

When J.R. Daughtry and Noble Hudson lock the door at the end of work today at Jefferson Park Barber Shop, it will mark the end of an era and decades of memories.

Like the time a military man asked if they could cut hair with the man's hat on.

"He tucked his hair under his hat, I cut around it," Daughtry said. "He left, went on back to the base."

And then there was the lady who stuck her head in the door with an unexpected request.

"She asked, 'Can anybody in here shave my legs?'" he said. "I said, 'No, ma'am.'"

The men are retiring after being in business together for 47 years.

Any secret to the success and longevity of their partnership is simple, they say.

"We have always tried to treat people nice, treat them right, give them good service, be friendly to them," Daughtry said. "We certainly appreciate all of our customers."

Closing the doors for the last time will definitely be bittersweet.

"We have got the best, and I mean THE best clientele anywhere in town or any place that I know of," Daughtry said. "We enjoy them and I hope they enjoyed us and I think they did.

"We have fun every day. I never got up in the morning and didn't want to come to work."

"It will be good and it will be sad," said Hudson. "We'll definitely miss it."

Their retirement is hitting their customers even harder.

"One guy came in and said he's lost three girlfriends and it didn't bother him nearly as bad as losing his barber," Hudson said.

"It's easier to get another girlfriend," Daughtry said with a smile. "You can't get another barber. There used to be one on every corner."

For many, getting a haircut at Jefferson's has been a family tradition for years.

"They have been cutting my hair since 1956, same way with my father," said Sam Jernigan. "They now cut my son's hair and my grandson's and they actually started cutting my grandfather's hair. So they have literally cut five generations of Jernigan hair.

"It's the legacy of thousands and thousands of people that have frequented that place."

It's also been a good gathering place.

"They do a good job and they're friendly," said Eddie Radford. "You can always find out what's going on. They're better than Fox News."

Daughtry and Hudson first met while working at Sunrise Barber Shop. After six years, they formed their own business, locating at the corner of Jefferson and Royall Avenue in 1964.

"It's about 53 years together, 47 and one-half where I'm at right now," Daughtry said.

There's no deep-seated reason behind the decision to close. It's just the "right time."

"It's been our life, both of us. It's just time to switch out," he said. "It won't for lack of business. It's just we're at the age right now where we need to do something else, with the family and so forth. I would rather be walking out than to be hauled out."

Daughtry is 76, Hudson 73.

Their quaint barber shop has none of the trappings of today's salons. There's no high-definition TV, no fancy strobe lights. Just pale green walls lined with cabinets containing hair ointment and shaving cream, plus two sinks and two barber chairs.

Appointments are unnecessary. A steady stream of men filter in, take a seat and wait their turn.

Some show up just for the conversation -- which typically centers around sports or fishing.

Once in the chair, there's no discussion about what the customer wants, no questions from the barber.

"Most of them, we know what they want," Daughtry said.

"I really enjoyed the way they cut hair. They cut it like I wanted," said Wayne Blizzard of Mount Olive, a patron of two years. He learned of the closing while awaiting his turn Thursday morning.

"I'm glad I came today," he said. "I sure hate to see them go. I will have to start hunting (for a new barber)."

Steve L. Herring of Grantham was also unaware of the business closing.

"I feel honored to be able to get one of the last haircuts," he said.

Chris Gurley quipped that he's one of the lucky ones.

"Noble says there's one thing I don't have to worry about," he said. "What is it you say?"

"You've got plenty of hair," Hudson replied.

"He says it's gonna turn gray but it ain't gonna turn loose," Gurley said with a smile.

The barbers purposely kept the announcement of their retirement low-key, hoping to avoid undue attention. They may have underestimated the loyalty of their customers who came from near and far for a trim or, back in the day, a shave.

Ronald Barrow has made the 15-mile drive from Shine's Crossroads for about a decade. Craig Murphy and Brad Gurley, both of Goldsboro, became customers about five years ago.

"Mr. J.R. told me last time I was in here, he used to cut granddaddy's hair (and) my daddy's," Brad said. "They're friendly, they do a good job. You don't have to have an appointment and I don't like reading women's magazines while I wait."

"I just like to go where men cut hair," Murphy said.

Alfred Buck, a Goldsboro resident since 1933, was stunned by the news.

"You've been holding out on me," he told the men. "I have got some clippers. I think I'm just going to give my wife barber lessons."

Craig Hansen of Mount Olive arrived and took a seat.

"He's the first guy that I cut a Mohawk on," pointed out Daughtry. "He played football at Eastern Wayne High School."

"We were the Warriors," explained Hansen. It was 1972 and he was 17.

"All my buddies came with me to have something to laugh about. That was the first time I ever came here, I believe it was. (Daughtry) asked me 10 times, 'Are you sure you want to do that?'"

He became a faithful customer.

"I don't know what I'm going to do. You're supposed to find someone to take y'all's place. I have been very loyal to them. I don't know about them."

"We have been here all the time waiting on you," Daughtry told him.

"That's this week. What about next week?" came back Hansen's reply.

Good question. Both men said they haven't given it much thought.

"I hope to do a little more fishing," said Hudson, who now lives on the family farm in Sampson County.

He anticipates he'll still cut hair, if only for his four sons and eight grandsons.

Daughtry said he has "no big plans" beyond spending time with his family and friends.

"I'm not going to hang up one of those hammocks in my backyard. That ain't my deal," he said. "I'm looking forward to doing what I want to do when I want to do it."