|An ad for Smitty's Barbershop in the first ever Fort Thomas Living Magazine in 1977|
"I told him Smitty had been there for 50 years and we wanted to be there another 50 years and 1 month," said Akers.
According to Akers, that wish will not become a reality. "We were notified the day before Thanksgiving that there was another business interested in our storefront as well as the vacant space behind (Smitty's Barbershop) and that our lease would not be renewed." The additional space behind the barbershop, which is one of only two businesses in the Hiland Building with street access, would give the new business moving in approximately 2,000 square feet.
Smitty's Barbershop will be moving to 910 North Fort Thomas Avenue, which is across from the 915 Bar and Grill, Fit Philosophie and Tracy Davis State Farm.
Smith started working at the barbershop in 1958, bought the business in 1970, finally selling it to Akers and his partner, Dave Brisco, in 2008. Akers and Brisco, who have worked at Smitty's Barbershop for 18 and 19 years respectively, signed a 3-year lease with a 1-year mutual option. The 3-year term is coming due this December 31. This was standard operating procedure for the business.
"I called Smitty and he was really upset (about the impending move)," said Akers. "He poured his blood, sweat and tears into this place and thought it would be here forever. (The property manager) made is seem like the new business coming in was pretty close to being done. We were given about 30 days notice."
"(The property manager) tried to show us other places in the (Hiland Building). He told us he would convert a portion of the lobby to a barbershop for us, but that just wasn't going to work," said Akers. "We don't want to move out of Fort Thomas. About 90% of our customers live in the surrounding area."
According to Akers, after their lease was up, they were only going to be granted a month-to-month lease, regardless of if a new tenant was interested.
Fort Thomas resident, Matt Richard, is an implant from New York and has been getting his haircut at Smitty's for about 8 years. According to Richard, he quickly realized that because he was not from Fort Thomas, in order to get a feel for the community, he would have to do that by going to Smitty's Barber Shop.
"Smitty's Barber Shop has been such a staple in Fort Thomas for many, many years. It has led to generation upon generation of residents who go to the local barber shop to get their haircut and also have a good conversation about the happenings in our community," said Richard, "It is truly unfortunate to hear that they are losing their lease and on such short notice. I know myself and many others are hoping that they are able to find another location in town and soon!"
Another long-time Fort Thomas business, Marshall Granger Jewelers, moved from the Hiland Building last year after 53 years in the same building.
The property manager was originally reached for comment, but asked to rescind his original remarks.