Thompson breaks out his clippers

BETHESDA – Fred Thompson has traded in his badge and gun for a pair of sheers, a straight razor and a leather strop.

Thompson served the public as Belmont County Sheriff for eight years. Now, he’s performing a different kind of service to area residents, one Thompson admits is slightly less stressful than his former position.

“It’s a little less,” said a smiling Thompson from inside Jean’s Barbershop in Bethesda. “We’ll see how it goes. So far, I’m only going to work a couple days a week.”

Thompson, who graduated from the former Wheeling Barber College and began barbering in 1967, has joined the staff at Jean’s and, along with owner/operator Jean Hoffman, will be taking walk-in appointments at the 108 N. Main St. location in Bethesda.

He previously worked in Cambridge before joining the military as a barber and throughout the 1980s and 90s, Thompson worked at Don’s Barbershop in Barnesville, his hometown.

“When I was still a detective, I’d cut hair on Saturdays up at Don’s in Barnesville,” Thompson noted. “While I was sheriff, I’d still cut family members hair.”

He’s not out of practice. But for the time being, Thompson will be working on Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Hoffman, who has been barbering in Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio since 1974, is the third owner of the barber shop on N. Main.

She’s had the shop since 2005 when she took over for longtime barber Dick Reichley, who owned Dick’s Barber Shop for more than 40 years.

Hoffman is also working part time and will be cutting hair on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Appointments are available by calling (470) 484-4860.

Going to a barber is about more than simply getting a haircut. It’s an experience, welcomed as much for the conversation as the trim and shave itself. Safe to say, Thompson will have plenty of good stories to keep his customers entertained.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes