50 years of close shaves - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

50 years of close shaves

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - The minute I walked into his shop on Olive Street just west of Balboa Park, Jerry Smedstad issued a warning.

"The big problem you'll have with me is shutting me up," Jerry said.

After sharing his barber chair with customers for over 50 years, there are plenty of stories to tell.

"I couldn't quit, because I wouldn't want the stories to end," he said.

The short story on Jerry is that he was born in Minnesota, the son of a barber. The Navy brought him to North Island and he and his wife decided to call San Diego home.

"Then I went to barber college in downtown San Diego in 1959," Jerry said.

After spending 30 years in a multi-chair shop, Jerry decided to downsize.

"I'm going to have a barber shop just for me. That's when I put this in," he said.

Over the years, clients have become friends.

"I've always had these great people, cultivated it a bit maybe," he said.

Over the years, more clients, more friends, more stories.

"In other words, I try real hard if they are real interesting," he said.

Jerry's philosophy is that you shouldn't leave a barbershop looking like you've just had a haircut.

"My idea was, look better with your haircut, not like you just got one, and it shouldn't be conspicuous," he said.

After 50 years, Jerry takes a week off every month to travel to his second home in Monmouth. But he returns again to share more stories with his customers, although some stories can be quite personal.

"I left home at 17. I'd say we weren't close but my dad lived old enough to see some wonderful things," Jerry said.

For over half a century, Jerry has touched and been touched by all the heads he's had the pleasure to have known.

"I told you, you wouldn't be able to shut me up," he said.

Jerry Smedstad, thanks for sharing your story.


Jerry Smedstad's Barber Shop
468 Olive Street
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 296-9137

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