BENTON, Ill. — The Benton Public Library partnered with the Armed Barbers Monday to provide free haircuts for students heading back to classes this week.
Benton students are starting school Wednesday. It's a bit of an early start because they're getting fall break this year.
Owner, Ray Minor, emphasized the importance of giving back to the community. He said he's working to keep old-school barbershops popular.
"There's few places a man can go between work and home that's not a bar anymore, you know?" he said. "And that's where a barbershop sort of fills that gap now."
Minor's business is part barbershop, and part gun range. The retired Illinois State Police trooper is celebrating one year of business. Becoming a barber was a change of pace for Minor, but cutting hair has been in Minor's family for generations. Maybe his talent can also be attributed to the land on which his business sits.
"The shooting park is located on property that used to be my grandfather's, so there was a barber chair on that property the whole time I was growing up," Minor said.
Ray's mother, Norma Minor is the child services librarian at the Benton Public Library. She used to be a teacher, and reads to children at the library. She said as kids prepare to go back to school, introducing them to the library with an event like this shows them a resource they can utilize, and boost their reading skills.
"That's why we want them to feel comfortable in the library," she said. "Because we want them to read. You know, that's very very important."
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