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Clip off the old block

Barbers Jerry Adams and his daughter, April Emery, cut hair on Halloween night. Others in the chairs (from left) are Jason Simpson and Zachary Lukes. April started working in her father's barber shop, Custom Cuts, 13 years ago.

"I think I learn a lot from April just watching her," says Jerry Adams as he works beside his daughter, April Emery. "She thinks I'm being judgmental, but I'm just learning."

Many fathers and daughters wouldn't be able to work together, day after day. But Jerry and April have been cutting hair today for 13 years at his barber shop, Custom Cuts. April got her license in 2007.

Watching her dad, she pretty much always knew she wanted to be a barber. "I put it in my middle school yearbook," April says.

April tried to fight her destiny — attending community college in Maysville and living with a relative in Nicholasville — but she finally decided to move back home and start learning from her dad.

In Lexington at Bailey's Barber College, the same school Jerry attended, the clientele was mostly black or Hispanic. So when April came back to Cynthiana, she had to learn how to cut a wider variety of hair styles and textures. "So it was basically like starting all over," April says. "If it wasn't for him, I'd be in a whole lot of trouble."

April and Jerry's work days usually begin around 8:15 a.m. and don't end until about 6:30 p.m.  "We're married to this place." April says. "It is really hard to take off because we know we have to be here for the people."

Jerry has been here for the people since 2002 when he bought the vacant building that used to be a filling station. Jerry and April are so dedicated to their customers that they don't even take a lunch break.

"We wouldn't know how to handle a break," April jokes. "We probably wouldn't come back."

There is rarely a time when Jerry and April's chairs are empty. 

"We love it here," says Jericha Walker, the mother of two young boys. "We love Jerry and April!"

April cuts William Varney's hair as he tells jokes. "It don't matter to me who cuts my hair, him or her," William says. "I said, 'Honey, don't worry about my hair, it grows. If you gap it, it grows."
Jerry prepares to take payment from Tom McKee after he finishes cutting Tom's hair.
Teresa Price laughs at a joke William made about his gray hair while she waits for her grandsons, Hunter O'Brien, 5, and Tyler Barnett, 12, to get their hair cut.
Jerry jokes with Tom while combing through his hair.
Richard Dailey (center) laughs and talks to Jerry, not shown, as Jerry cuts Tom's hair. Others in the shop (from left) are Jericha Walker; her sons, Easton, in her lap, and Landen; and Steven Coffey. "Barbers, bartenders and politicians all have the same job," Jerry says. "We listen to confessions."
Jerry cleans up the shop before he heads to a recovery meeting that he leads at Living Hope Assembly of God, a church in Cynthiana. April cuts Devin Stamper's hair before closing.
Jerry listens to prayer requests during the recovery meeting.
Jerry and Tunya Adams (center) watch as their grandchildren go trick-or-treating at houses near Jerry's shop. Others pictured (from left) are Nichole Reed; Harlan Reed, 5; Luke Emery, 8; April; Matthew Emery; and Justin Tolliver, 10.
Jerry does some light cleaning during a rare moment when there are no customers in the shop. "I ain't used to being here and ain't nobody in here," Billy Beckett says. "Usually their seats are full."