Its owner, Russell Hiatt, has been cutting hair for more than 60 years—both for famous visitors and town folk. But despite the celebrities who have graced his shop, it’s the loyal everyday customers he values most, which is why Wednesday was especially great for the long-time barber.
More than 30 people showed up to celebrate a surprise birthday bash for Hiatt, who turned 85-years-old yesterday.
“How many people reach the age of 85? So this is really special,” said Judy Cooley, who works at the barber shop and helped plan the surprise birthday party. “Russell is so friendly and people just love him.”
And Hiatt said he loves the people.
“I can’t explain how I feel (now),” Hiatt said tearfully as he continued to cut customers’ hair during the celebration in-between receiving handshakes and hugs. “I appreciate everybody coming here today.”
The Floyd’s City Barber Shop is not only a popular destination for tourists, but the residents who have become familiar with his “Wall of Fame” that features celebrities such as Oprah, Lou Ferrigno of “The Incredible Hulk” and his “Two chairs-no waiting” policy.
Dozens continued to flow in and out of the barbershop Wednesday to wish him a happy birthday and partake in the festivities that included live music from Jerry Tackett and Tim Chadwick and refreshments.
Lon and Frances Boatman, who are friends of Hiatt, dropped in Wednesday to show their support.
“This is the best part of my vacation,” said Frances, whose husband, Lon, visited regularly in the in the past for a hair cut. “He (Hiatt) makes you feel like a friend. He knows every person’s name and where they’re from. This is the place to come if you want to know anything because Russell knows everything—he’s just like a walking chamber of commerce.”
Andy Andrews, who has his hair cut regularly by Hiatt, happened to be in his barber chair as Hiatt was unknowingly ambushed my friends and workers during his celebration.
“He’s a great fellow,” he said. “I’ve been coming to him for a long time, we always discuss raising our tomatoes.”
Cooley said it’s no surprise so many people would celebrate Hiatt’s birthday.
“They always flock in to see him, they jump right over me to get to him,” she said with a smile.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.