The facade of the Sperryville Barber Shop, on U.S. 211 just south of the village, brings to mind Andy Griffith’s town of Mayberry. It’s a small, brick and stone masonry building, replete with a country style and Pepsi vending machine alongside it, and the ’50s architectural style catapults you into another place and time.
Inside, the four walls are mirrored and filled with photos, knickknacks and a sign listing prices: $10 for a cut, $2 for a shampoo. An oversized vintage black barber brush sits atop one of the counters, easily five times the size of a modern soft brush — a shaving brush of bygone days. There are three barber chairs; one is anointed John’s, in honor of John Eubanks, and that’s where kids like to sit.
John passed away earlier this year, and while fictional Floyd of Mayberry was depicted as a likable but scatterbrained small-town barber, John was known for his intelligence and sense of humor, and his popularity among kids and adults alike (many of whom he’d known as both, since he was also a bus driver for 45 years).
Michele Burke and Stacey Coffey are now the owners. Michele had been Eubanks’ employee for 14 years, and he bequeathed the shop to her for one year, rent-free. Stacey has been there five years. The women are colleagues and friends, spending every Friday night together with their kids, babysitting for each other.
Stacey hugs her little dog Eli, the four-legged companion she considers her child, and who is constantly at her side and is always a hit with the youngsters. With her infectious smile (with that gap between her teeth, like Lauren Hutton) and mischievous look, Stacey is instantly likable.
Michele has lived in Rappahannock for 18 years, having come from Culpeper. She’s the proud mom of a 14-year-old, strapping Rappahannock high school football athlete and is married to a Rappahannock man, a VDOT employee and vintage Quicke Mart early-morning visitor. She thinks maybe I’ve seen him about town. He’s a big, bald man with an undeniable presence.
I ask Michele if she knew John Mann, Doris Jones’ husband who passed last year and was well known in the community for his years as a barber, as well as other talented endeavors. She smiles and says she knew him well — indeed, her family lives in Five Forks, just down the road from where John lived and Doris still lives.
Michele speaks of the business, of the challenges in recent times of turning it into an LLC, dealing with government bureaucracy and getting the business off the ground initially. She speaks poignantly of losing valued customers she’s treasured for years as they’ve passed on, as well as the continuing challenge of building a customer base — with so many potential clients choosing to stop off somewhere on the way home, perhaps in Warrenton or Front Royal. Michele is all about the customers; they drive her and she wants to please them all. She clearly loves her chosen profession, and is good at it.
From here on in, this columnist’s next cuts will be with Michele or Stacey at the Sperryville Barber Shop. They open at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and close at 2:30, 5, 5:30 and 3:30 p.m., respectively. For more information, or to set up your next haircut, call the shop at 540-987-8146.
The Old Hollow Store is quickly turning into a local institution, in keeping with Dick McNear’s hopes for the place he built from the former site of Attic Treasures on U.S. 211. Lots of locals are patronizing this country locale, he reports, enjoying the ambiance and Jennifer Smoot’s home-cooked meals.
They’re doing well enough to be looking for a part-time cook and have even run out of meals on occasion. Weekly specials include sausage gravy with choice of egg, scrapple or hash browns, and deli sandwiches for $3.50 or less (named for local landmarks). Full-course dinners are also offered, all at less than $8, including pot roast, potatoes and gravy; meatloaf with freshly baked corn bread and green beans; thick pork chops dappled with corn niblets and warm gravy and more. Did we mention desserts? Oh my, a variety of hand-dipped (and soft-serve) ice creams with lots of toppings to choose from, and thick milkshakes (mango and orange, vanilla and blue raspberry, to name a few), floats and sundaes and my favorite — yes, banana splits.