Jan. 9 2013 12:00 AM

Jerry's Hairport & Modern Barbers

Jerry’s Hairport owner Pat Zopf (left) with business founder Jerry Doyle taking a little off the top. Allan I. Ross/City Pulse

On Dec. 28, the ownership of two longstanding Lansing barbershops — Jerry’s Hairport and Modern Barbers — changed hands. The common date was nothing more than a coincidence, but both situations are strikingly similar. In each case, the torch passing was friendly, with an employee taking over the reins. The new owners have pledged to keep the same name, and any planned changes are merely cosmetic. Incredibly, both businesses date back to the 1950s.

“The Hairport has been here for 53 years now, and it’s not going anywhere,” said Pat Zopf, 42, who recently took over from the business’s namesake, Jerry Doyle. “I’m going to keep the name, but I’ll give it a small facelift. Maybe a chin tuck, you never know.”

Renovations include wallpaper removal, a fresh coat of paint, new carpeting and flooring and new back bars and counters. Zopf, who’s been working at the three-chair barber shop since graduating from Lansing Barber College in 1996, says that Doyle will stay on two days a week, in addition to full-time cutters Mike Norris and Mary Rosas.

So, with 17 years under his belt, does he think he can last as long as his mentor?

“I should be as lucky,” Zopf said. “My philosophy to barbering is that if you like what you do, it’ll never feel like work. And I love coming in every day.”

Although Daniel Moore has only worked at Modern Barbers for two years, he’s spent 28 years hovering over a special group of mid-Michigan heads. Well, besides a brief stint out West.

“I worked in Arizona until I discovered I don’t care for Arizona,” Moore says. “Except for the areas that look like Michigan.”

Moore, a licensed cosmetology instructor, received his first degree in theater arts, which is still his passion. In fact, take a look at lansingtheater.com and you’ll find his name attached to nearly three dozen community theater productions for hair and make-up (one of which he won a City Pulse Pulsar Award for in 2007). He also does the hair for touring companies at the Wharton Center, although he declines to name names of anyone famous he’s worked on.

“I tend to focus more on the hair than the person,” he says. “But I love working backstage — doing hair is so much fun. To be backstage when an actress is having a meltdown because she thinks she looks terrible and she sits in my chair and I can make her look fabulous again — that’s the best feeling in the world.”

Moore says he’s the fourth owner of Modern Barbers, which has been around since 1950. His decision to settle down with his own business after working at various other places comes from entering a new stage in his life.

“I’m just tired of moving,” he says. “So I brought in a friend I’ve worked with for 17 years and now we’re looking for someone younger who will fit in with us.”

He says the decision to keep the name was a no-brainer.

“At this point, it would be silly to change the name,” he says. “The only change I’m making is putting a sign out by the road. It’s a little hard to find, unless, of course, you had your first haircut here 60 years ago. So many people have come in and said, ‘I got my first haircut there.’ This place has incredible client loyalty.”

Jerry’s Hairport
4613 N. Grand River Ave.
8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
(517) 321-9126

Modern Barbers
2225 E. Grand River Ave. (Apple Market)
Lansing Township
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday–Friday
Saturday by appointment
(517) 482-7789