Local barbershop continues to expand

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By John Barnhart

    Tom’s Barbershop, located in the By-Pass Business Center at 800B Blue Ridge Avenue, is now up to three barbers with the addition of Bill Acors, who started six weeks ago.

    “I met Tom in a barbershop in Lynchburg,” said Acors, explaining how he and Tom Gentry, the barbershop’s owner, met. He said Gentry told him his business had reached the point where he needed a third barber and made him an offer.
    “I liked the way he handled himself — very honest, very straight-forward,” Acors said. So, he accepted Gentry’s offer.
    For Acors, who is 57, barbering is a second career. A native of Spotsylvania County, he lived most of his life in Richmond where he owned and operated a business. When he was 25, he started a wholesale tire business. Later he added a retail tire business. Finally he added a used car business.    
    After more than a quarter of a century in tires, he retired at the age of 52, only to discover that retirement didn’t suit him at all.
    “I was really, really bored,” Acors commented, adding that he woke up one morning with nothing to do.
    Acors, who had moved to Madison Heights, worked for Liberty University for three years, supervising a small food court. This didn’t suit him either as he had worked for himself most of his life.
    His father had been a barber and that’s what gave him the idea to take up that profession.
    “When you work in a barbershop, you work with the barber,” he said.
    Being self-employed and working with the barber, not for the barber, was to his liking.
    “This was a good situation for me at this point in life,” he said.
    Acors, a licensed barber, is happy at Tom’s
    “I’ve been blessed,” he said, “The customers have taken to me. Everybody has been very gracious to me. I like the people here. They are very friendly.”
    Danya Zierhart is Tom’s second barber. She has been a barber since 1970 and is a master barber. This means she can supervise an apprentice barber. Zierhart had operated her own barbershop in town until it got flooded out last year. She had originally planned on cutting hair at Tom’s on a temporary basis, but ended up staying. An established barber, she brought clients with her.
    Having three barbers has allowed Tom’s Barbershop to extend its hours. The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 8 a. m. to noon on Mondays and Saturdays.
    “The only day we are closed for is