For 45 years, Carroll Helms has been the man to go to for a haircut, a close shave and a tall tale or two. In January, the long-time barber called it a career, and put down his scissors for good.
The retiring barber from Zirconia says it’s been a good ride. “Barbering is one business where you make a lot of friends,” he says. “You’re seeing the same people every three or four weeks, and after a while they become your good friends. It’s been a good thing and been a good run for me.”
Helms began his career at the Skyland Barber Shop in downtown Hendersonville before honing his skills further at two other shops. Thirty-five years ago he opened Helms Barber Shop in Hendersonville, a place known for more than just its haircuts.
The Erkwood Drive business is a place where musicians play their instruments as skillfully as Helms wields his scissors. In the early 1990s, a teen-ager started bringing his guitar into the shop. Soon he was joined by another picker and then another. Today, the Barbershop Boys play about once a week at the shop, filling the air with music as people sit for a trim.
“We’ve had a lot of guitars in there since that time,” he says. “They like to hang out, and it’s made for a good setting.”
Though retired, he won’t be too much of a stranger. He still plans to drop by the shop and visit with barber Josh Ballard, the Barbershop Boys and the people who come to swap stories.
“You have a pretty good job when you look forward to going to work in the morning,” he says. “I kind of felt that way. You never knew what was going to happen or who were going to see. I’m just going to lay around for a while and see what happens.”