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Martin Albert
Jake Hunker, owner of Jake's Barber Shop on Railroad Street in Great Barrington, will be offering free haircuts to veterans on Monday.

Local barber offering free haircuts, coffee and donuts for veterans on Monday

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By Friday, Nov 9, 2018 Life In the Berkshires 4

Great Barrington — For obvious reasons, Veterans Day is a somber occasion. But one Great Barrington merchant is trying to do something to brighten up the day for those who wore the uniform.

Jake Hunker, who owns Jake’s Barber Shop on Railroad Street, will offer coffee, donuts and free haircuts to veterans who visit his shop Monday, Nov. 12., between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“My grandfathers were both Marines,” Hunker said in an interview. “I’ve always had this interest in the military itself and I have lots of friends who have served, so Veterans Day just seemed like a good opportunity.”

Local veterans march in the Main Street parade in Great Barrington on Memorial Day in May 2015. Photo: Terry Cowgill

The coffee will be donated by Fuel, the popular Main Street coffee shop and bistro. Sweets will be donated by the Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe on Stockbridge Road.

Hunker grew up in Sheffield and recently bought a home on Home Road. His mother grew up in Great Barrington and his father in Canaan, Connecticut, so he is about as local as you can get. When he graduated from Mount Everett Regional High School in 2011, Hunker knew he wasn’t interested in going to college because he clearly wanted to work with his gifted hands.

“I wanted to create something,” he told The Edge, when he opened his shop last year. “As a kid I always loved going to the barber shop. It was just a fun place to hang out before my basketball games.” 

So he went to the Great Barrington location of Sim’s, the barber shop formerly located on Main Street next to Barnbrook Realty, and was told about the need to attend barber school.

The interior of Jake’s Barber Shop on Railroad Street in Great Barrington. Photo: Martin Albert

After nine months of training, Hunker graduated from the Hero Barber Academy in Newtown, Connecticut. He traveled around, working at a variety of venues cutting hair until eventually returning to Sim’s later that year.

Hunker wound up working at Sim’s for six years until it closed abruptly early last year. A few months later, Hunker realized his dream when he opened his own shop at the corner of Railroad and Elm streets in downtown Great Barrington. It’s in the building where the Music Store used to be.

Hunker typically services his customers by appointment but said he was waiving that practice for Veterans Day, when he will be open throughout the day for them. Older veterans grew up in an era when there were no appointments and waiting for an open barber’s chair was a social opportunity.

“It just seemed like a good day to crack that mold,” Hunker said, “but also give back to something that is close to me and also give back to the towns.”

For more information, call (413) 329-3611.


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4 Comments   Add Comment

  1. John says:

    Hats off to you Mr Hunker! We thank you for your respect to our cherished veterans and hope your business flourishes!

  2. Peter Greer says:

    Well done sir. We need more of this !

  3. Brian Tobin says:

    This is great news! Thanks Jake!

  4. Sam Ernst says:

    Another reason (besides giving great affordable haircuts) that I love Jake’s!

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