Longtime Fayetteville barber retires after 61 years, closes down shop

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- After 61-years of cutting hair, a local Fayetteville legend is saying farewell to his shop.

Donnie Barefoot, 80, started his career at the Haymont Barber Shop, off of Bragg Boulevard, when he was just 19.

"When you wind up with something and you're making a living, it's hard to quit it," Barefoot chuckled.

Over the next several decades, the Sampson County resident began building his clientele and taking over ownership of the shop in 1972.

"I haven't cut the governor, but I've cut on down from him. The judges, police chiefs, city mayors and all of them," Barefoot added.

Barefoot's routine of waking up at 5 a.m. and starting work at 7 a.m. became clockwork. He never missed a day of work until he suffered a heart attack in November 2019.

In February, Barefoot had to undergo open-heart surgery, missing out on some time from work.

"Well, the doctor said today I'm doing good. He said I look good, but I'm not loaded with energy," Barefoot said.

On top of his health problems, COVID-19 came into the picture, shutting down the shop for the next several months.

These became some of the factors that led to Barefoot deciding to hang up the clippers and say goodbye to a facility that became a second home.

However, before he said goodbye on Thursday, Barefoot had to use his clippers one last time for his grandson, Vince.

"I think it's pretty cool. You have a local celebrity here," Vince told us as his grandfather cut his hair.

A local celebrity who received a warm farewell from friends, clients, and law enforcement in a surprise drive-by retirement party on Thursday afternoon.

The party was organized by Barefoot's 17-year colleague and friend, Harriet McLaren.

"He's just an awesome guy. Everyone loved to see him. I mean, we wouldn't have the business we have if it weren't for him," McLaren said.

McLaren says Barefoot is like a father to her, never expecting him to retire.

Though it was a bittersweet goodbye, Barefoot tells ABC11 he intends to pick-up the clippers from the comfort of his Salemburg home, offering appointment-based haircuts.
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