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Longtime Ironton business closes doors

For Pete Davenport, the job he has had for the past five decades never really seemed like work.

A barber by trade, Davenport enjoyed the people and the duties.

“I looked forward to going down and seeing the people I dealt with for so many years,” he said of Davenport’s Barber Shop on Third Street in Ironton.

Last week the man marked his 50th year cutting hair. It was also his last as a barber. Davenport is suffering from cancer and has decided to give up his business. Friday was the last day of operation.

Frank Jenkins, a local barber, has been filling in as needed at Davenport’s shop since the cancer diagnosis in 2004. Davenport has been off work since February.

“We’re lifelong friends,” Davenport said of Jenkins. “We just happen to be barbers.”

Davenport had been in a few locations before settling at the Third Street location in 1989.

He first thought about being a barber after hearing a friend mention that he wanted to start cutting hair. That friend became a teacher instead.

“It was just a fluke,” he said of his decision to cut hair. “All my life I’ve really enjoyed it. I really hate to have to quit.”

Several of his customers hate to see him go, too.

Jenkins has been telling some of them since the decision to close was made this week.

“They don’t care much for it,” Jenkins said. “It’s about all repeat customers.”

In fact, many of Davenport’s earliest customers had been taking their grandchildren to him for haircuts.

“I like meeting the people and talking to (people) of all walks of life,” he said. “I just like being with the public.”

Jenkins will miss the business, too, he said.

“I’m going to hate it,” he said. “I enjoy helping him but it’s one of those things.”