Fire guts shop, but barber keeps on clipping

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: November 17, 2007 - 6:07 PM

VIRGINIA, MINN.

A local barber is making haircutting house calls after a downtown fire forced him out of his one-chair shop. Warren Smith, 55, cut hair in downtown Virginia for 28½ years before the Nov. 5 arson fire forced him to put a sign on his front window with his phone number and this note: "For now I'll travel to where you are at to provide haircuts. Thank you." "I'm just winging it," Smith said. "I have to do something to keep me going. I'm a survivor, not a quitter."

Besides having Smith travel to their homes, customers also have the option to come to Smith's kitchen at his home between Virginia and Eveleth, where a 'Warren the Barber' sign hangs on the mailbox.

Being out of his shop has cut down on the number of haircuts he gives -- he says he sees about 15 heads a day compared with 20 to 30 at his shop -- but Smith is encouraged by the ring of his telephone.

"I don't care if a guy wants me to come to his house at 9 or 10 o'clock at night," he said. "I'll be there. If I'm not cutting hair, I have no income. I look at heads, not hours."

Smith makes house calls carrying a black nylon duffel bag and a whisk broom to clean up after himself.

"The people really seem to really appreciate me. They say, 'Thanks for coming over,' and you know what I tell them? I say, 'Thanks for having me.' I feel good about it. I'd go crazy if I wasn't cutting hair," said Smith, who's looking to open a barbershop in a new location in Virginia.

The fire caused more than $1 million in damage to two buildings. Authorities have charged a Virginia man, alleging he set the fire because he was cheated in a drug deal.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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