• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

The barber is back!

Connie Semotan returns to Shueyville after 10 years
Connie Semotan, owner of Connie’s Barber Shop in Shueyville, gives Michael Rowland of Shueyville a trim. (photo by Jen Moore)

SHUEYVILLE– When Connie Semotan reopened her Shueyville barber shop in March, a lot of her clients were walk-ins, and many would tell her stories about a great gal that used to cut hair at that very same location years ago.
When she heard these stories, Semotan would smile and laugh as her customers would slowly realize that that same great gal was standing right in front of them.
“I get all kinds of people who just come in and ask, ‘are you my Connie?’” Semotan said. “The response has just been so fun.”
Twenty years ago, Semotan opened the barbershop under the name Country Cuts, where she enjoyed a thriving and growing business. In 2005, she decided to move the shop to Swisher, while also still cutting hair in her hometown of Tipton.
But it was a decision Semotan would ultimately come to regret.
“The biggest mistake we made was moving,” she said. “At the time the move sounded like a good idea, but I wish we never would have.”
She wanted badly to come back to Shueyville and, as luck would have it, her old location just happened to be available.
So she made the move back to the familiar spot, calling her new location “Connie’s Barber Shop.”
And she was welcomed back with open arms.
“She’s so efficient and convenient,” said Terry Zahradnik, who has been getting her hair cut and permed by Semotan for almost a decade. “And she just has the best personality.”
Semotan’s bubbly personality is actually one of the first things you notice about her. She’s constantly talking, has a big, boisterous laugh and has a sense of ease around all of her clients, whether she’s met them once or cut their hair their whole lives.
It’s a trait, she said, that you need to have to make it in the hair business. To her, a barber is almost like a therapist (“or a bartender,” she joked). Her job is to ask questions about the client: “How’s your family? Any big plans this weekend?”-and let them fill in the blanks. You play off each individual client and always have a cheery disposition.
That combination of personality and skills has helped her cultivate a strong following, with some clients traveling almost an hour just to get their hair clipped by Semotan.
“They become your friends,” she said. “It just really blows me away that they’ll drive that far to get their hair cut. You think ‘wow, I must have really made an impression on them.’”
Semotan is also very proud of the fact that she’s a barber, which is not to be mistaken for a beautician or hair stylist. In her eyes, the two come from completely different worlds and she’s not afraid to correct you if you get them confused.
Barbers are masters of the hair clipper and are licensed to do men’s shaves, though that’s not as common of a practice these days, Semotan said. They go to completely different schools, earn completely different licenses, and Semotan says she can spot a cut from a beautician from a mile away.
“I really am strong about that,” she said. “My daughters kind of laugh at me because I’m proud to be a barber. I don’t want to be called a beautician.”
Semotan passed down that love and sense of pride to her two daughters, Lacey Stockdale and Laura Gast, both of whom are licensed barbers.
Gast now runs the Country Cuts location in Swisher, while Stockdale recently opened Lacey’s Barber Shop in Ely.
Though all three are independent locations, they often refer clients to one another, ensuring someone is always available for that last minute hair cut.
But Semotan is not the first in her family with a love for hair. She actually first became interested in the art because of her aunt and uncle­– who were both barbers.
It’s a profession she hopes will continue to be passed down the family tree. In fact, she’s already planning for the day, 20 years from now, when one of her grandchildren decides to pick up a pair of clippers and continue the tradition that goes back generations.
“There’s an old photo in my family of ‘Jesse the Barber.’ It goes back about four generations,” Semotan said. “I hope they say that about me someday: ‘Connie the Barber.’”
Connie’s Barber Shop is located on the four-way stop in Shueyville, at 1202 Curtis Bridge Road, NE. She’s open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 319-560-3838, though Semotan gladly accepts all walk-ins.