He’s minimize the hair of practically each individual mayor in Kirkwood. He’s witnessed men’s hairstyles transform from small to long to “anything goes.” And inspite of 54 many years in his trade, “Jerry the Barber” insists he does not have a single shopper — only buddies.
Born William Cody, the area legend prefers to go by his middle title.
“We’re fairly similar to Buffalo Invoice Cody, so there is a ton of Charges in our family,” claimed Cody. “My mother did not want to call me Monthly bill because if she yelled at me, every person would transform about.”
A Kirkwood indigenous, Cody, 74, remaining Kirkwood Large College in 1968. His spouse and children couldn’t afford to deliver him to college or university, so he opted for barber university — a inexpensive and quick different — as a substitute.
“My good uncle was a barber. He and his good friend opened up the Athletic Club barber store down in St. Louis. That is how I got into it,” explained Cody. “It gave me anything to do. I appreciated it. I would have under no circumstances thought I’d be undertaking it this very long.”
Cody begun at Bill & Van’s, a barber shop at Geyer and Essex, the place he remained for 25 decades. He then moved to Varsity Barber Store at Manchester and Geyer, the place he reduce hair for 18 a long time just before the store closed in 2012. His upcoming house was Sandy’s Barber Store on Woodbine. When the store operator retired about three decades ago, he moved his chair next doorway to Tangles and Curls, 630 W. Woodbine Ave., exactly where his quite a few shoppers locate him now.
1 of individuals shoppers, Ethan Lewis, has trusted his hair to “the famed Jerry the Barber” given that he was a kid.
“He’s been carrying out my hair for just about 40 many years — and most of my good friends, too,” mentioned Lewis. “We’d all cling out in the exact sites, and Jerry would hang out with us.”
Lewis is especially grateful to Cody for cutting his hair free of charge of demand when he was going through chemotherapy. But Cody reported it is all component of the position.
“When they cannot arrive in, I go to them. I figure they aided me with my payments when they had been equipped to, so at minimum I can get care of them when they cannot,” he reported. “Nothing makes a sick man or woman come to feel much better like a fresh haircut.”
Kent Nentwig, another shopper, has been going to Cody for hair cuts considering the fact that significant university.
“He’s a pleasant, fun guy,” said Nentwig. “He’s bought all the tales about Kirkwood so when you occur in here, you hear what is going on.”
Following knowing his clientele for so several years, it’s no ponder Cody considers them considerably extra than simply just clients. He joins them at neighborhood restaurants to check out athletics together. He’s been released to wives and girlfriends. Even after around 5 a long time, Cody stated the occupation is often “more bull” and chat than genuine function.
“I never have any purchasers. These are my buddies. They are my spouse and children,” he claimed. “It’s not a work. It’s a place I go to have exciting. It’s not get the job done anymore. It has not been do the job in decades.”
Not Going Anywhere
Outside of his shop, “Jerry the Barber” has a family spanning various generations — a few adult young children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Inside of the store, it’s not as well diverse.
Lori Evans, operator of Tangles and Curls, operates the hair salon along with her daughter, Molly McQuillen. When Evans heard that Sandy’s Barber Store was closing, she requested Cody if he would contemplate shifting his chair subsequent door into her salon.
The final result was an surprising partnership, with Cody’s male clientele bringing in women of all ages to Evans and McQuillen, and vice versa.
“There’s a few distinctive generations in this article — him, me and my daughter. Who would’ve ever thought a era gap would function in here? But it all performs so effectively, the blend of us,” mentioned Evans.
Although Cody stated he’s experienced to tone down the banter with his clientele, they enjoy the environment inside Tangles and Curls. An skilled in men’s hair, Cody admits he’s astonished with how his coworkers’ competencies differ from his personal.
“If you’d have instructed me 50 a long time back I’d close my profession in a magnificence store, I’d in all probability slap you,” he claimed. “But currently being here, I see what they do and there’s no way I could ever do it. I’m amazed with how beauticians get the job done.”
For all those who are curious — no, he does not reduce his personal hair. These days, Cody leaves that to his female counterparts.
“When it is time, he says, ‘Do you consider I could get a haircut all-around right here?’” stated Evans.
In July, Cody will hit 55 many years serving the adult males of Kirkwood from his barber chair. For the first time in his existence, he’s lessening his workload and getting Saturdays off. But Tuesday by way of Friday, he can continue to be identified driving his chair on Woodbine Avenue, chopping hair and shooting the breeze.
And with no plans for retirement, the legend of “Jerry the Barber” lives on.
“When I move away, they’ll stuff me and put me in the Kirkwood Educate Station,” he joked. “But I’m not likely wherever. These are my enjoyment instances.”