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Q&A: Edsel Evans, Owner, Brass Shears

Shave and a hair cut

Jackson barber may be the iron man of his profession

Edsel Evans, 68, is Jackson’s $5 hair cut man. He has been a barber for 47 years, running his shop, Brass Shears, from the Hilton hotel for 26 of those years, during which he has taken only one vacation. Evans sees at least 15 to 20 clients per day, “five and a half” days a week. He is a Bay Springs native and has a wife and one son.

Q —  Why did you come to Jackson?
When you’re from a small town, you go to the big city.

Q —  How did you decide that you wanted to cut hair?
I was going to go to school to probably pursue a civil engineering degree, but I said, “You’re better with your hands than you are your head.” Turned out great. Couldn’t be more satisfied.

Q —  When did you attend barber school?
I went, I believe, in 1963. I’m 69 my next birthday. I was 21 or 22.

Q —  How many clients do you serve a day?
I really don’t know. At least 20 people.

Q —  You’re famous for $5 hair cuts. Do people ever ask you why you don’t charge more for a hair cut?
They do. I just say, well, “I’m alright.”

Q —  Do you think you would lose business if you charged more?
No, I don’t. Well, one thing, it keeps me busy for sure. I like to stay busy. I have made a good go of it. I haven’t gotten rich yet. I get rich every day.

Q —  Do you think at whatever profession you choose, if you’re good at it, you can make money?
Absolutely. No doubt about it. And you’ve got to have the work ethic, too, the people ethic. You’ve got to know how to get along with people.

Q —  How do you stay in business selling $5 hair cuts?
I do mine on volume. And I work. I work. Five and a half (days per week). Monday through Saturday. Eight to six Tuesday through Saturday. It’s strictly work ethics. You have to work. You can’t be gone. You have to work. You have to be here. And it’s the same with anything and everything. The main part of my business or anybody’s business or any industry is people. Everything boils down to, the business being or not being, is people. You can get your attitude adjusted or unadjusted with people. You’ve got to balance the good, bad and the ugly. As long as you balance the people, the person to person attitude, to anything you do, then you’re going to make it. You’ll make it fine. That would probably be my inspiration to telling you what makes someone’s business or industry work is the management of people and resources.

Q — You seem like you have a good work ethic. Right?
Work ethic is a big part of it. I was raised on a small farm. And so, you get up early. You might not necessarily like what they had you doing, but you did it anyhow. I’ve been early to bed, early to rise for forever. Military wouldn’t let you sleep. I guess all those elements come into one. Just good work ethics.

Q —  When were you in the military?
I went into the military in 1966. I was 24. I was working at Meadowbrook barber shop with I got drafted. I went in in the height of Vietnam, but I was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., and I stayed there two years. I was school support for the Officer Candidate School. Taught them how to shoot 105 howitzers.

Q —  What do you like best about your job?
The people part, just being involved with people. You have the good, bad and the ugly. And you have to adjust to that situation. You can’t get mad with the ugly ones. You’ve got to balance your approach.

Q —  How many regulars do you have in your barber shop?
I could not tell you. I have no idea. Dozens and dozens, hundreds… I’ve got a wide variety. I’ve got a bunch.

Q —  How do you schedule your day?
I schedule (a hair cut) about every 15 minutes, give or take. I will not delay an appointment long. I have had very few people to get upset about it. My shop takes walk-ins with whoever’s available. The people who work in my shop are independent contractors.

Q —  How do you like working at the Jackson Hilton?
Greatest landlord a person could have. They have treated me just excellent. I’ve been here since it’s been open.

More on Edsel Evans:
Favorite food: Mostly anything
Favorite books: Biographies
Most recently watched movie: “Grown Ups”

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