A Cut Above the Rest

SeniorProfile

By Todd Luck

Gerald Hutson has been cutting hair for more than 70 years and attributes his longevity and “blessed” life to his hard work and God’s grace.

“I thank God for letting me enjoy the part of life that He so gracefully let me have,” said Hutson, a member of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

Hutson is owner of Bus Stop Barber Shop in Winston-Salem. Hutson, 84, said he started cutting hair at age 13 in his native country of Barbados as a way to make money. He fell in love with being a barber and has been cutting hair ever since, even as he worked other jobs.

The middle of nine children, Hutson came to America in 1957 looking for a better life and said he found one. After moving around the country doing various jobs, he settled in New York state, where he was a corrections officer. There he earned his barber’s license and opened up his own shop. He prides himself in always having worked hard during his career, often working two jobs at a time, and never having taken a hand-out from anyone. He was married to the late Annie Hutson for more than 53 years and has four children and six grandchildren.

After retiring, Hutson moved to Winston-Salem and in 2000 he transformed his mother-in-law’s former house into his barber shop. He had to start over and earn a new clientele and now he enjoys a loyal customer base that includes lawyers, teachers, pastors and many others.

“When I moved, I had no customers, but I said to myself, ‘Let the work that I do speak for me,’” he said.

Named for a bus stop that used to be near the building, his shop features a parking lot in the back, a large waiting room that gets filled during busy times, and a hair cutting area with three chairs, two sinks, mirrors and plenty of room for all the tools of his trade. He tries to have a pleasant, Christian atmosphere in his shop. A “No Profanity” sign is displayed prominently and music from 1340 AM The Light gospel station plays through a stereo at all times. This is particularly appropriate since the building used to house Temple Church of God, which was pastored by his mother-in-law, Lelar Venson.

Hutson has had many barbers to work under him over the years; his protégés tend to move out on their own after they’ve learned under his wing. Anthony Brown has been cutting hair at the shop for three years. He said Hutson gave him a chance when no one else would and changed his life. He said Hutson is a father figure to him and many young black men in the community.

“He’s a hero to guys like me,” said Brown.

Bus Stop Barber Shop is located at 1302 East Fourth St. in Winston-Salem and is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The shop can be reached at 336-722-1902.

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