Jack Randall thought his barbershop in the 2300 block of South Main Street would have been indestructible in a storm.
“It was built in 1920. It was concrete block. I thought it was a fortress,’’ he said. “We would have been killed had we been there.’’
Randall’s barbershop was like no other in Joplin. He had accumulated 50 years worth of stuff, most of which had been given to him by loyal customers over the years. With its mounted deer antlers and fish on the walls, visiting the shop was like taking a trip back in time.
The tornado destroyed the barbershop and damaged his home at 26th Street and New Hampshire Avenue. His garage, which also was loaded with things he had collected over the years, was destroyed, too. He did not have insurance on his barbershop, including the three Koken chairs inside. Two of the chairs were damaged. One survived.
The loss of the shop and his garage put him into a funk. Not seeing the 75 to 100 men who came to his shop each month compounded the sense of loss.
“I did not want to do anything,’’ he said. At 77, Randall was fighting depression. But, it’s hard to keep a good man down. His customers wanted him back.
One of them was 69-year-old Gene Baldwin, who describes himself as one of Randall’s “regular reprobates.’’
Said Baldwin: “They would line up to get a haircut from Jack. You paid $5 for the haircut and $5 for the BS — that’s barbershop talk.’’
Baldwin, expressing his highest regard for his friend, said Randall “raised his daughters by himself for five years until he remarried. One of his daughters was so impressed by that she named her sons Hunter and Fisher.’’
Randall is now working from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays at V’s Barbershop, 2917 S. Main St.
“It’s worked out good,’’ he said. “It’s a first-class shop. It’s too good a barbershop for me to work in. Mine was a little more redneck. Yeah, I really miss my old shop.’’
I’m confident he’s not the only one who feels that way.
The new International House of Pancakes, 2117 S. Range Line, is in the final stages of completion. A worker at the site said it should open in August.
Several people survived the tornado by seeking shelter in the former IHOP. Some of them, in fact, lobbied IHOP to rebuild the same structure that had existed there because they thought the design of the structure had saved their lives. IHOP has gone with its latest design for this structure.
Let’s hope we never find out whether this version will weather a storm as well as the previous one did.
The city issued a $1.5 million permit for this project.
If you have purchased a “Deadline Deals’’ gift card to the former L.L. Sayers restaurant in the Gryphon Building, 1027 Main St., you can redeem it at Café on the Route in Baxter Springs, Kan., or at Café on the Green at Briarbrook Country Club and Golf Course in Carl Junction.
The Oreck Floor Care Center in the Chase-Colton shopping center at 420 N. Range Line Road has a new name. It’s now Joplin Vacuums.
The owner, Bill Wooldridge, said he will continue to carry not only Oreck products, but other products as well, including Sebo, a German-made vacuum, and Simplicity, which are manufactured in St. James.
In addition to offering cleaning products, air purifiers and floor cleaners, the shop has a service center. Wooldridge said, ‘We work on all brands.’’
The vacuum shop celebrated its 10-year anniversary on June 10.