Whitey’s back at his Bellville shop

CLEAR FORK VALLEY — The little storefront shop that has been sitting vacant for over a month is going to get “livelied up” shortly with the return of the proprietor — Whitey Flockerzie.

The shop is a place many know well. People travel from places like Detroit to visit Whitey, the barber. He has occupied the space for 50 years, since his graduation from Andrews Barber College in Columbus.

But in July, Flockerzie decided it was time to get something done about his right knee. He had knee replacement surgery on July 5.

He said his doctor never urged him to get surgery, even though his knee had been swelling for a year.

“Ace becomes your best friend,” Flockerzie said.

He said it had gotten to the point where he would have to sit down between customers, and sometimes even when he was working with a customer. He had been getting a series of shots, but the effect of those had begun to wear off.

He worked for a bit in his shop last week, welcoming a few people he knew well, including Larry Hunter.

Flockerzie said Hunter’s wife had told him if he was going to visit Whitey, he better come back with his hair cut. Hunter is one of the person who helped Flockerzie keep operations going after his surgery.

Flockerzie said Hunter was special because he had survived open heart surgery but still helped. Another friend, Bill Hoeflich, also helped him take up the slack, Flockerzie said.

Though he is 71, Flockerzie said he had no particular plans to retire. He said he might end up like a man he knew of who lived to 93 and continued his business.

He said one of the neat things about coming back to work was that the men he worked on “had beautiful heads of hair.”

The barber business has changed over the years, Flockerzie said. A barber gets trained to do all kinds of things, like correct something like a “bowl cut.”

He said that cut is “horrrible” and that means a barber has to “take the lines out of the hair that parents put in.”

In his business, it is generally non stop, and not by appointment. He has had people come into his shop and wait two hours for service.

The lingo used in a barber shop is particular, Flockerzie said. There is a “high fade,” a “high and tight,” flat tops.

He said he does a lot of cuts for people in the military and law enforcement officers.

The way a barber charges varies, depending on location. At one time Flockerzie charged $7.50 for a hair cut, and he had a customer who would come in with seven $1 bills and five dimes.

He now has a sign which says a cut if $7. He also has a hot lather machine which he uses for people who want a shave. He said his customers love that.

In the old days, customers at barber shops would bring in their own mugs and brushes. It was common to see a line of mugs and brushes in shops, waiting for the return of their owners.

Barber shops are inspected by the state barber board. Now there is not only an inspector who comes to shops, to check on the barber’s license. But the shop itself must be licenses, Flockerzie said. This is another way for state reglators to generate money, he said.

Flockerzie said having received good wishes from customers and friends has been a “humbling” experience.

He said when some people have found out how long he has been in business they probably wonder if they’re going to feel bad if they haven’t been nice, should he not return.

Most people know him by only his nicknme, Whitey. He said when he was little his hair was snow white, not yellow.

So the name Whitey was given. Though his hair turned darker, things have pretty much come full circle.

“It’s almost white again,” he said.

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Whitey Flockerzie
http://www.thebellvillestar.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/39/2017/09/web1_whitey.jpgWhitey Flockerzie