At 2 p.m. Sunday, People’s Choice hair and beauty salon owner John Fenton will close after a busy day and finish the remaining customers.
His feet will ache after five hours of standing with other barbers shoving their way through dozens of shaggy heads, but he will be tired and happy.
Fenton loves her boutique’s one-day Christmas haircut event, where anyone can get a free haircut, just in time for the holidays.
Garry Thomas inspired community giving now in his 12th year.
Thomas was one of the founders and president of the South Hill Neighborhood Association, which pioneered the free haircuts, given now in memory of the late Burlington alderman.
Punch Hampton licensed barbers and possibly Nick Nelson, along with esthetician Keneesha Brown will begin cutting hair at 9 a.m. Sunday at the store, 1200 S. Central Ave., but, “If a barber or hairstylist wants participate, we have space and need you for a few hours on Sunday to help cut the hair of less fortunate families and give them a new haircut for the holidays,” Fenton said.
Haircuts, he explained, “for us, it’s everyday life”, but for people who can’t afford it, “it’s so much more”.
“(Haircuts) uplift (people), lift their spirits and make them feel good,” said Fenton, who, upon request, also gives “12 or 13” youths from the juvenile detention center local free haircuts, explaining he does it, in part, because “it makes them feel like a person.”
Fenton’s daughters, Jaylynn, 11, and Jasmine, 8, go on Sunday, as in previous years, to sweep up the haircuts, and her son, Isaiah, 18, a Notre Dame school fighter, helps always with hot towels and razors.
Only at People’s Choice can mustachioed residents get an old-fashioned, soothing, relaxing hot towel and a razor-sharp shave. Back shaves are also available.
Hairstyles such as braids, dreadlocks, standard and military haircuts and designs can be obtained there regularly, although Sunday’s event is haircuts only.
Around 100 children and adults will sit in the barber chairs – at the December 2021 event, Fenton himself cut around 27 locks.
Free back-to-school haircuts in August, also a regular offering, attracted 96 young customers.
A few other companies are contributing to the cause – Hy-Vee provides free cookies and deli sandwiches, and Fenton said he wanted to thank “Bruce at Burlington Pepsi” for always donating free soft drinks.