Sheldon, Iowa — Times change and the world evolves. Today, for the most part, both men and women get their haircuts from stylists in salons. However, there’s one Sheldon barber who has been cutting men’s hair in a Sheldon barber shop for more than half a century.
79-year-old Sam Wiertzema owns Sam’s Barber Shop, which is located at 209 9th Street in downtown Sheldon, and has been cutting hair in there since 1964. KIWA talked with the Rock Rapids native, and asked him how he came to call Sheldon home.
(As above) “I had just got done serving two years in the Navy, where I was the officer’s barber on an aircraft carrier, and I was looking for a barber job. I’m from Rock Rapids originally, and I forget, I think was a word of mouth that there was an opening in Sheldon. So I came up here to apply for the job and got it. I worked at the shop for two years for Bill Weets, who was another barber in town here, and then I had a chance to buy the shop, and I’ve owned it ever since.”
Wiertzema says much has changed over the last 54 years, including the types of haircuts his customers want.
(As above) “As far as hair styles, it went from flattops, to Beatles style haircuts cuts, you know…way over the ears…and then kinda went back to short again now, a lot of short haircuts.”
In addition to changes in men’s haircut styles, he says he’s seen a lot of things change in Sheldon during that time, as well.
(As above) “As far as around town, my goodness, right across the street used to be the Al Duis Ford garage, there was a motor parts supply store, a tavern was right across the street, (now) it’s all gone. There have been a lot of things. A couple of huge fires…Vogel Tire company burned down, the old Swanson store burned down…….”
Wiertzema says that, even after plying his trade for more than half a century, he doesn’t plan to retire any time soon.
(As above) “I’m 79 years old, way past retirement. I’ve been blessed with very good health, the good Lord has been good to me. I still enjoy coming to work. I come because I like it, not because I have to…..although the last…there was 60 days where I was closed, so I got a little taste of what retirement might might be like (and) it wasn’t all bad. But it was so great coming back to cut some hair again, too.”
Wiertzema says there are still a few of his customers that have been with him since he first came to town in 1964, and now he is also cutting the hair of the third and fourth generation of some of his earliest customers.