NORTH PEKIN - There's a barber shop in North Pekin that's just a little bit different. From its story to its service, Jake's Place is offering haircuts and hot shaves with a solid dose of history.
This barber shop is more than a business. For owner Jake Ista, it's an accumulation of two deployments to Iraq and a skill he acquired along the way. He said, "Because the Army requires solders to maintain a standard, I had to learn on the fly. Haircuts were $7 and that's every week. That $7 tallies up pretty quick."
That's when Jake said he became the "barrack room barber." He cut hair for all of the soldiers in his unit.
When he returned home with plans to open an old style barber shop, he couldn't do it without being surrounded by the memories that made it a reality.
He said, "This is a reminder of where I've been. Nobody should ever forget where they've been, but concentrate where you're going and that's more or less what I'm looking at."
For many of Jake's clients, it's more than a haircut. It's an experience, and a brotherhood. So much so, that many clients decided to leave a piece of their military history behind.
Vietnam veteran Chris Miller said, "I thought that was a neat idea and I've done so. And I'm sure that many others have too."
Mills said his memories of war have a safe place here, a place in Jake's barber shop.
It's a place where these servicemen bond over stories and shaving cream.
And that's exactly how Jake intended for it to be.
He said, "It's more than just coming in and getting your hair cut and that's the way I wanted it."
Jake still cuts hair for local soldiers. His shop will be closed on Saturday, March 16 because he's helping out the 724th Transportation Company Family Readiness group. You can read more about Jake's shop on his website - www.jakesplacebarbers.com.