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Local barber offers more than simple haircut

Jon Stone of Detroit Lakes was appointed to the Board of Barber Examiners by Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Dec. 18. He has been employed at Jim's Barber Shop in Detroit Lakes for 13 and a half years.

Though he may not have to worry much about "bad hair days" himself, Jon Stone is an expert at making sure his customers don't have one when they get out of his barber chair.

For 13½ years now, Stone has worked at Jim's Barber Shop in Detroit Lakes, first as an apprentice, and then as a master barber in his own right.

Though it may not have been his initial career path upon graduating from Lake Park-Audubon High School in 1990 -- Stone holds an associate degree in computer programming from Interstate Business College in Fargo -- it turned out to be the right one.

"I probably could have had a job (as a computer programmer) if I stayed in Fargo-Moorhead," he said.

"But I liked it here (in the lakes area) so much, and there just weren't many opportunities for computer programmers in Detroit Lakes at that time."

So Stone decided to listen to his barber -- Jim Kauffman, of Jim's Barber Shop -- and become one himself.

So he enrolled in Moler Barber College in Fargo, where he learned to perform not only a "shave and a hair cut," but also things like hair coloring and permanent waves, scalp massages, facials and more.

Chemistry, anatomy, and even "a little bit of psychology" were also part of the learning experience.

"You're not only a barber, but also part counselor," Stone explained, noting that customers frequently pour out their troubles while they sit in the chair and let him work his magic with scissors and a razor.

Though listening to his customers is a big part of Stone's job, he says, there are some topics that are taboo.

"Two things you don't ever talk about are politics and religion -- it will only get you in trouble," he said with a smile.

Even if he might agree with everything his client is saying, the person sitting in the waiting area and listening to their conversation may not, he explained.

When you come into his shop for a haircut, Stone added, "It should be a pleasurable experience, not a scarring one -- literally or figuratively."

Over the years, Stone's customers have come to expect good things from him -- so much so, in fact, that his name ended up on a list of master barbers being considered for appointment to the state Board of Barber Examiners.

"I got a call from the governor's office earlier this month," Stone said. "They asked me if I was interested (in the appointment)."

After learning the basics of what was entailed in serving on the board, Stone asked them to send an application form, and he filled it out.

On Dec. 18, after a screening process was completed, he received word that Gov. Tim Pawlenty had appointed him to a four-year term on the board. His term will expire on Jan. 6, 2014.

The state organization, which officially split from the Board of Cosmetology in July of this year, is still its formative stages, so Stone isn't entirely sure what his work will entail.

What he does know is that the job will entail disciplining barbers who have violated the state bylaws governing the profession, and assisting in the giving of exams to prospective apprentice and master barbers.

"They give the exams three times a year," Stone said.

Becoming a licensed barber

After completing barber school, the next step in the process of licensure is to take the apprentice exam, which includes oral, written and practical components (the latter involves practical skill application, i.e., giving a shave and a haircut to a real person).

After serving as an apprentice to a master barber for one year, a person is then allowed to take the master barber's exam, which also involves practical, written and oral components. Once they have passed that exam, they are able to set up their own shop if they so wish, Stone explained.

If a licensed apprentice sets up their own shop before obtaining a master license, or if a master barber employs someone in his shop who does not have an apprentice license, those would both be considered examples of violating the rules governing the barber profession, Stone explained.

He has been licensed as a master barber since 1997, Stone added. His first meeting as a member of the state board will be on Jan. 11.

A resident of Detroit Lakes since 1994, Jon and his wife, Joy, have two sons: Joshua, 2, and Jon, 7.

When he's not cutting hair, Stone also serves as an EMT with St. Mary's EMS, and as a licensed deputy with the Becker County Sheriff's Auxiliary.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454