Bainbridge Barber celebrates 50 years of cutting hair

Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Owen Elkins, Jr., a loyal customer, gets his hair snipped and trimmed by Joe Peters at his shop on South West Street. — Joe Crine

Joe Peters, a 1960 graduate of Seminole County High School and a U.S. Air Force veteran, has been cutting hair for Bainbridge and Southwest Georgia residents for 50 years.

Before opening his own shop at 118 S. West St., he worked with the late James C. Strickland at Stricks Barber Shop, beginning as an apprentice. From 1961 through 1965 he served in the U.S. Air Force. The first two years he was stationed in France and the last two years he was stationed at Turner Field in Albany.

Peters said that when he first started barbering in Bainbridge, there were 17 full time barbers, seven barbershops and three part-time barbers.

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Hair cut prices ranged from $1 to $1.25. Today, there are four barbershops.

In April 1972, he went to the Perles Truck Stop Barber Shop on U.S. 75 in Cordele for a short time. He said that one of his most memorable and heart-warming moments in his barbering career came in his brief time at Cordele.

“One day in Cordele, a man came into my shop for a shave, and his adorable 3-year-old daughter was with him,” Peters said. “When I started the shave, his daughter looked up at me and said, ‘Mr. Barber, please don’t cut my daddy.’ After I finished and her father was getting out of the chair, his daughter looked up at me again with little tears coming down both of her cheeks and said, ‘Thanks, Mr. Barber, for not cutting my daddy.’”

On his sign in his barbershop waiting room are the words “go to church.” Peters, who is an active member of Calvary Baptist Church, said that those words are a very strong talking point among his customers, and he thinks it is very important for all of his customers, friends and neighbors to go to church.

Owen Elkins, Jr., who teaches electronics at Bainbridge State College and has been having his hair cut by Peters for some 50 years, describes him as a caring, dedicated person.

“Joe started cutting my hair when I was a young kid,” Owens said.

Peters and his wife, Pat, who is from Graceville, Florida, have been married for 52 years.