WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — A beloved barber in Walker is celebrating 60 years in the business and receiving appreciation from the community for decades of service.
Robert Stevens first opened his shop on Remembrance Road near Kinney Avenue in 1968.
“Everybody comes from different walks of life. Every story is different, every customer is different. It’s just so interesting. Sometimes this chair turns into a therapy session,” Stevens said.
Stevens is known by his regulars as ‘Bob the Barber,’ and they travel from all around the area to see him.
Loyal customers like Greg Lake always find an opportunity to stop by for a fresh cut.
“It’s astounding for not just cutting hair but anything to be in it for 60 years. I mean that’s quite a feat,” Lake said.
Stevens began his career at the age of 19.
“I got out of high school in June and I started barber college in August,” Stevens said.
He trained in Detroit, worked as an apprentice and got a job. After six years, he moved back to the Grand Rapids area and bought the shop in Walker, where he has been for 54 years.
“I’ve had a lot of help. My wife of 58 years now. I haven’t had to worry about the books at home or here. She takes care of everything, raised three kids, ran them to football games, baseball games. Dad was working,” Stevens said. “It was tough. I had to miss a lot of stuff because I’m open 11 hours a day most of the time.”
Steven’s family organized for his picture to be put on the billboard next to his shop. Many people in the community stopped by to get a picture by the sign.
His granddaughter Chelsey Williams now works alongside him.
“It’s been really cool to just see the community come together for him and like firefighters and everyone that he has just held really close to his heart these past 60 years,” Williams said.
Even with more than half a century cutting hair, the 79-year-old says he is not slowing down anytime soon.
“If you love your job, you’ve never worked a day in your life,” Stevens said. “That’s kind of the way I feel. I just still love it. I still want to keep doing it as long as I can. I hope I know when it’s time to quit but so far it’s not now.”