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Published: Monday, 3/18/2013

Blissfield barber: 50 years of what he does best

When not cutting hair, he drives a school bus daily

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Harold Mohr prepares to shave around the ears of Ray Garcia at Mr. Mohr's barber shop on South Lane Street in Blissfield. The barber has been cutting hair 50 years, following successful completion of training at a barbers' college in Detroit. Harold Mohr prepares to shave around the ears of Ray Garcia at Mr. Mohr's barber shop on South Lane Street in Blissfield. The barber has been cutting hair 50 years, following successful completion of training at a barbers' college in Detroit.
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BLISSFIELD, Mich. — Harold Mohr, whose barber shop is a mainstay of downtown Blissfield, celebrates a half-century of cutting hair in the village this year.

He’s planning to hold a party at his Mohr’s Barber Shop on South Lane Street from 1 to 5 p.m. April 27. The community is invited.

The celebration also is in observance of Jerry Holland’s 43 years of giving haircuts in Blissfield. He is Mr. Mohr’s colleague at the shop.

“You can wet your whiskers and enjoy light refreshment,” Mr. Mohr said. “There won’t be any alcohol. My wife’s a Baptist, and she said ‘no beer.’ I’m a fallen, drinking Lutheran myself.”

Mr. Mohr has been cutting hair in Blissfield for 50 years, and his shop has been at 112 S. Lane for 24 of them. He owns the building — a former grocery store that has an upstairs apartment he rents out — and said his business is the oldest on the block.

“Everyone else has died or retired,” he said. “We had a shoe store, a clothing store, meat markets — they all went out of business. The owners got old and nobody wanted to take over.”

Mr. Mohr is 71 and said he won’t be retiring for at least 10 years. He has a grown son and daughter and five grandchildren, and a 12-year-old daughter from a second marriage who is his main concern.

“I want to get her through high school and college,” he explained. “I’ll cut hair as long as I can do it, as long as I am able. Luckily, I have good legs and feet and arms, and barbering isn't that hard. I tell people it's no harder than playing golf.”

Cutting hair five days a week isn’t his only gainful employment. He also drives a bus for Sand Creek Community Schools in Lenawee County and rises at 4:30 a.m. to be on his route on time.

At the shop, he works 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. He also has a licensed barber shop at his home in Sand Creek, complete with barber chair, where he does two or three haircuts a week by appointment.

He prides himself on giving old-fashioned men’s and boys’ haircuts, the kind that involves putting hot lather around the ears and shaving a neat, curved line with a straight razor.

Ray Garcia calls himself an original customer of Mr. Mohr’s. That's because he's been coming to him for 50 years for his admittedly simple tonsorial needs — a flattop whenever he starts feeling a little shaggy.

“He’s one of the few people who can do a flattop today,” Mr. Garcia said.

Younger customers like him too, as long as they don’t want anything fancy. Randy Thompson, who is 29, has been a customer for a year. “He always does a good cut. It's his concentration on detail that makes the difference,” he said.

Mr. Mohr grew up on a farm northwest of Adrian and graduated from Adrian High School. After working a few jobs that involved being outdoors in winter, he decided he wanted to be indoors and comfortable, so he went to Detroit Barber College.

“Having grown up on a farm, that’s why I like Blissfield, because it’s a farming community. I spent nine months in Detroit in barber college. That was enough of the big city for me,” he said. “Fifty years on the job here. I think that’s quite an accomplishment.”



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