Writer / Jessica Pflumm – Photographer / Ron Stiemert
In the mid-1950s, Tom Davis started teaching at the first public high school barbering school in the United States, Harry E. Wood, right here in Indianapolis. Tom then started his own shop as a way for his barbering students to learn more and practice with more hands-on experience. Originally, Tom’s Barbershop in Greenwood was attached to Green Acres restaurant. Eventually he wanted to expand the space, so they made the move to historic downtown Greenwood. Now almost 60 years later, Tom’s son, Jeff Davis, is keeping his father’s dream alive as Tom’s Barbershop lives on.
Tom grew up in Elwood, Indiana. As a soldier in the Army heading to World War II, he cut hair on the ship deck in route to training. He would send his extra money home to his mom to help support their family. After his time spent in the Army, Tom went to college to earn his teaching degree. During his summers, he spent time cutting hair at his brother Zip’s barbershop. Tom graduated from college and was a shop teacher at the local high school. He also had a barber’s license, “so when the opportunity came up to both teach and do barbering, Tom was the ideal candidate to do both,” Jeff explains.
Jeff grew up in Tom’s Barbershop. He now owns and manages the shop following Tom’s death in 2011 from heart and kidney failure. Jeff attended Greenwood High School, graduating in 1972. At his high school graduation open house, Jeff remembers many asking what his future plans were. At the time, his plans included going to Indiana Central on a track scholarship and studying to be a teacher. The summer before college began, however, Jeff had no solid plans, so he decided to go to barber college to fill his time.
For those three months, Jeff went to classes five days a week, eight hours a day. When college started, he cut hair in the dorm hallway to earn extra money. His studies then shifted to his teaching degree, but he spent his next three summers going back to the barber college. After graduating from college, he went on to teach elementary school for 37 years at Isom Central for the Greenwood School Corporation. He spent his Saturdays and any extra time off alongside his dad at the barbershop.
When Tom died in 2011, Jeff said, “It became harder for me to run the business while teaching.” After two more years of teaching, Jeff retired and began running the barbershop full time. As Jeff noted, “The barbershop isn’t just a business; it’s like a member of our family.”
A long-standing tradition of Tom’s Barbershop includes a child’s first haircut. The one-time experience includes a free T-shirt declaring ‘First Haircut’ and a certificate to make it special for the child (and the parents). The current staff – Jeff, John, Jamie, Joe and Laura – all cut men’s hair, some by appointment only and some by walk-ins only. Other services include haircuts, beard trimming and flat tops, and all services offer a special discount for senior citizens over 65.
In his spare time, Jeff works a side business called Videomaker Productions. He specializes in video production for dance recitals, sports highlights and school musicals, and he has done a few weddings.
Tom’s Barbershop has long supported the Greenwood community. They have sponsored many school functions as well as many Little League teams. They are one of a few family-run businesses still with a lifelong residence in Greenwood.
Thank you, Tom Davis, for starting this established business in the Greenwood community and a big thank you to Jeff Davis, both for keeping his dad’s dream alive and for providing this example for many generations to come!Owner: Jeff Davis – 317-881-0988
338 Market Plaza Dr., Greenwood
Facebook: Tom’s Barbershop
Tom’s Barbershop Website
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed Wednesdays and Sundays