Every morning before Connie Jones starts cutting hair, she organizes her station. She lays out fresh towels, makes sure her tools are clean and fills her spray bottle with fresh water. It is the way she has started every day at the Boone Village Barber Shop.
But on the first Monday of 2023, Jones won’t be doing any clipping, cutting, shaving or trimming. After 20 years at the Boone Village Barber Shop — and 30 years as a professional barber –Jones is officially hanging up the clippers for good Dec. 30.
For two decades, Jones has positioned herself behind the middle seat, but she has never gone to work. And that’s because she’s so much more than a barber to so many of her clients.
“I love what I do and it’s never a job, it’s just fun,” Jones said. “The people are awesome, and the customers are amazing, little kids, old men, all the way.”
Jones arrived in Zionsville after cutting hair for 10 years at a barbershop in Brownsburg. Mike Nell, who purchased the Boone Village Barber Shop in 1989, was looking to add another barber to his staff. Jones said Nell was willing to give her a shot and the rest is history.
“She just communicates well,” Nell said. “Communication skills (are) a big part of the business.”
When it comes to her customers, Jones doesn’t just want to connect with them; she wants to lift their spirits.
“You just feel so good when somebody comes in, they’re either sad or they’re angry, they’re having a bad day, and you’re not just giving them a haircut. You’re listening to what’s going on in their world,” Jones said. “And if you can crack a joke (or) just (do) anything to make them smile, then you feel like, ‘OK, I’ve done my job.’”
Tyler McFall and his family have been coming to Jones for approximately eight years. They drive from Westfield to get haircuts, most recently on a cold and cloudy Friday November afternoon.
For McFall and his four kids, Jones isn’t just a barber, she’s family.
“She’s like a grandma to them,” McFall said. “She gives them money on their birthdays and all that crazy stuff. They just have a good time with her.”
And she has a good time with them, as is evidenced by the hugs, the smiles and the group photo they all take before McFall and his family depart.
It’s her role as a grandma that is greatly responsible for her retirement. Jones plans to relocate to Fort Wayne in the spring of next year to be closer to her daughter and four grandchildren.
“I want to finish watching them grow up,” Jones said.
Still, leaving behind the friends and family she has made while “working” as a barber in Zionsville won’t be easy. Jones believes the ending will be bittersweet.
“After 50 years in the workforce and 30 years on my feet, I’m ready, but I’m going to miss everybody so much, I really am,” Jones said. “Mike and his family have just adopted me, and they’ve been a part of me for 20 years, but I won’t lose touch with them.”
Nell knows it will be strange looking over and not seeing Jones at her station.
“It will be different,” he said.
As for McFall, he has another barber lined up, but he knows it won’t be the same.
“You can’t replace Connie,” McFall said.
Fortunately for the McFall family and many of Jones’ other customers, they still have one more appointment scheduled before Dec. 30. And when they come in for their haircut, Jones won’t be working. She’ll be having fun.