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home : features : business April 29, 2016

3/25/2008 4:36:00 PM
Prescott Valley Barbershop still going strong 20 years later
Trib Photo/Jerry J. Herrmann
Debby Waugh, owner of Prescott Valley Barbershop and lead barber, cuts Art Kroese’s hair Monday.
Trib Photo/Jerry J. Herrmann
Debby Waugh, owner of Prescott Valley Barbershop and lead barber, cuts Art Kroese’s hair Monday.

Jerry Herrmann

During the past two decades several barbershops have come and gone. However, the Prescott Valley Barbershop's barbers keep on cutting hair in the same location in the Safeway Shopping Center.

In fact, Prescott Valley Barbershop is celebrating its 20 anniversary on April 1.

Debby Waugh, owner and lead barber, said the secret to her business' longevity is "we provide great service at an affordable price in an open and friendly environment."

A native of Billings, Mont., Waugh moved with her family to Tucson in 1956. In 1970, she graduated from barber school in Phoenix and received her first barber's license. After getting married to the late Larry Waugh, who served 23 years in the Air Force, she cut hair in Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Neb., Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colo., Williams Air Force Base in Chandler and Luke Air Force Base in Litchfield Park.

In 1985, they moved to Prescott. "I wanted out of Phoenix and the kids were out of high school so it was the perfect time to make the move," she said.

After being unable to find a place available for a barbershop in Prescott, Waugh began looking in Prescott Valley.

The Safeway Shopping Center was under construction at that time. With Safeway as the key tenant, Waugh felt the strip mall was ideal for her barbershop. "We officially opened on April 2, 1988 at 7840 E. Highway 69, and have been there ever since," she said.

Don Nance, the barbershop's manager, has been with Waugh since she opened the doors. Ticia Borta has been with her for 12 years, while James Smith has worked there for 10 years.

Originally, she said, they opened with three barbers stations. Today, they have six barbers stations.

Waugh said her most difficult jobs is finding barbers. "I need three full time barbers and can't find any," she said.

She believes one of the reasons is because most men need a full benefit package in addition to a salary to support their family. As a small businesswoman, Waugh is unable to provide health insurance coverage for her barbers.

Waugh said they do ladies haircuts, but no chemical services, and lots of children's haircuts. "We are a kid friendly barbershop," she said.

She said the kids, whose hair they cut when they first opened are now bringing their children in to have their hair cut in her barbershop.

When a child gets his first haircut in her shop, he receives a certificate, t-shirt and a picture in the shop's Hall of Fame. Waugh regrets now that she didn't start her Hall of Fame for first haircuts 20 years ago.

Also, any person on active duty in the military can get their hair cut for free at the Prescott Valley Barbershop.

Waugh said it is the relationships she has developed with her customers during the past two decades that keeps her going. "I watch families grow, and customers have invited me to weddings, funerals and asked me to be their child's god parent," she said.

"We even have people who come in and leave their children to get a haircut while they go shopping because they know they can trust us," she said.

During the past two decades she has seen a lot of growth in the town. When she first came to Prescott Valley, Waugh says there was a green houseboat at the corner of Yavapai and Florentine people lived in. "They burned tires for heat," she said.

Waugh is an 18-year member of the Prescott Valley Early Bird Lions Club, member of the Prescott 104 Toastmasters, Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce, and a past member of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Special Olympics.

The only thing Waugh would have done differently, if she had to do it over, is buy some land and build her own building.

"All, in all, it's been a great run," she said.

She looks forward to many more years in her same location.

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