But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a place lacking the “latest and greatest,” as evidenced by recent remodeling that includes new hardwood floors and other updated touches.
For 51 of those years, Lee Benard could be found busy at the barbershop which bore his name. In fact, he got into the business because he wanted to be busy, writes Beverly Nowak, who compiled “The Heart of Bountiful Businesses.”
She writes how Benard’s first job was at Hill AFB, which reportedly did not involve a lot of work for him to do (unlike current initiatives in place there).
Preferring to keep busy, he quit the base in 1948 and enrolled in a barbering course at Salt Lake Trade Technical Institute, now Salt Lake Community College.
The following year, he worked as an apprentice with George Walker, who operated a barber shop on the old Highway 89/91 where Chuck-A-Rama is now located.
Two years later, Lee opened a three-chair barber shop at the store’s current location of 68 S. Main.
He had built the shop with an eye to future expansion, and less than four years later, hired Richard Petersen (Rich) to work the second chair, while only a year later, that third chair was operated by Arnold Pace, who returned from the Navy and joined the business. He opened his own shop in Farmington in 1969.
Illustrative of the lower cost of living 50-plus years ago, haircuts in 1959 were advertised at $1, and children’s cuts were only 75 cents.
Lee married Joyce Trowbridge and in 1961 they bought the Ira and Allie Mae Holbrook home on Center and 100 West. Lee reportedly liked living close to downtown, because each day he could arise and walk the short block to his business, Nowak writes.
“Lee displayed initiative and industry in starting his own business and making a success of it,” Salt Lake Trade president Jay L. Nelson said in awarding him a distinguished alumni award in 1964.
After 51 years behind the chair at his barber shop, Lee retired, on July 4, 2002. He passed away on June 12, 2005.
Jan Langford, who had worked at the business for three years, bought the barber shop from Lee officially on Jan. 1, 2003.
“Lee’s Barber Shop focuses solely on men’s and boys’ cuts, providing old-fashioned and modern styles,” Langford said. “Our shop is unique, as it is the only shop in Bountiful that still provides a hot lather and shave. This service is very popular among our customers.”
Two new barbers were hired, Leah Bryson and Sandy Morado. Leah bought the business in 2007.
And while the old Clipper building to the south was torn down several years ago, Lee’s continues in its original location, with the building owned by Frank Ramirez.
As a March 2007 Clipper article by Sarah Ryther notes: “Many changes are taking place in downtown Bountiful, but one historic site is here to stay: Lee’s Barber Shop. With the proposed development of Main Street, many thought Lee’s Barber Shop would have to move. Jan said she was under the impression the building was going to be torn down and she would have to vacate by March 2007.”
But Langford learned Ramirez had no plans to demolish the site. So, business continues under Leah Bryson’s ownership.
Development by John Hepworth of the old Clipper site and the corner across the street that housed Whisperwood Hollow is still planned.
A check late last week with Bountiful City officials indicated Hepworth is still anxious to complete a multi-story European-style retail/housing development there, as previously reported in the Clipper.
Development is awaiting some final details before it can proceed, the paper was told.