Half century of cutting hair in Iola
By Jane Myhra
A red-and-white barber pole is rarer than finding an old-fashioned barber shop these days.
Even harder to find is a good barber, according to the customers who frequent Jake’s Barber Shop in downtown Iola.
Stanley “Jake” Jakubek has been Iola’s barber for the past 50 years.
At Jake’s Barber Shop, he has served customers at the same location – 157 N. Main St. – since 1966.
He does not take appointments, only walk-ins.
He also makes house calls for about four customers who are shut-ins.
“I knew in high school that I wanted to be a barber,” Jakubek said. “I thought it would be a good job. I can be my own boss, and I meet different people every day.”
“I still enjoy it,” he said. “It keeps me busy.”
In July 1966, Jakubek became an apprentice for Iola’s barber, Dale Winkler. He was required to serve three years as an apprentice and one year as a journeyman before he could become a licensed barber.
In 1968, he joined the Army National Guard. During his six years of service, he was never federally activated but was called by the state to help at the demonstrations in Madison.
Through the years, he has seen changes in men’s hairstyles.
“The long hair in the 1970s took a lot of barbers out of business,” he said. “Now, the really short hair is coming back.”
Jakubek purchased the local barber shop 25 years ago and has no plans to retire. Two years ago, he cut back from five days a week to four days, working Monday through Thursday. This gives him three days to concentrate on beekeeping.
When he is not barbering, Jakubek raises bees and sells honey. He also collects miniature models of cars he used to own.
Jake’s Barbershop also has a collection of annuals from Iola-Scandinavia High School, from as far back as the early 1970s.
“It’s one of the most popular items on the magazine rack,” Jakubek said.
He and his wife, Judy, live in Amherst Junction. They have three sons and three grandchildren.
At Jake’s Barbershop, Jakubek has built a business with loyal customers.
He rarely takes a day off, except maybe for doctor’s appointments.
When the shop is closed, “the people are good about it,” he said. “When I come back, I gotta work twice as hard the next day.”
“Jake is the best barber I ever went to,” said Roy Elmhorst, of Iola. “In the past, I went to many other barbers, but now, I have been coming here for 20 years.”
“Iola is a friendly town, and the barber is friendly like everybody else,” Elmhorst said.
“He is a wonderful gentleman and a very pleasant customer,” said Diane Ayres, of Too-Dar Diner, located two doors down from Jake’s.
“He is a great barber and a great beekeeper,” said Len Black, of Manawa.
“When you find a good barber, you stay with him,” Elmhorst said.
Jakubek shrugged off the compliments and continued his job.
“All you can do is try your best,” he said.