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Shelby stylist is cutting his place into county’s lore

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For 46 years Bridwell Terhune has kept his scissors on the cutting edge of fashion in Shelby County, and just about every other edge, too.

By Todd Martin

Since 1967 Bridwell Terhune has been keeping Shelby County stylish.

From women asking to look like Dorothy Hamill and Farrah Fawcett to men switching from buzz cuts to pony tails and shaved heads, he has seen it all.

“In forty-seven years there ain’t a lot I haven’t seen,” he said. “But I also never regretted a day I’ve walked through that door. You learn from everybody at the barbershop. Everybody has a story, and I get to pass ‘em on.”

Terhune’s story starts when he was in high school.

“When I was a kid, mom or dad cut your hair. You didn’t really go anyway to get it done,” he said. “Well, when I got to high school, the flat top was coming in fashion, and my mom couldn’t cut a flat top. So I started practicing, brushing it up. My senior picture I had a flat top done by me. And I only dropped the clippers on top of my head one time.”

But Terhune’s Style Shop is much more than a male-dominated barbershop specializing in high-and-tights and flat tops. Terhune’s does women’s styles as well, And although his wife, Marnie, does most of the coloring and curling now, he said he has always taken his craft very seriously.

“I’ve studied hair all over – I spent a week in London training and working,” he said, while rattling off a half dozen other places that he has spent time working and learning the trade.

And he has continued to evolve.

After starting with a small sop on Main Street, he moved to the Village Plaza Shopping Center in 1971 and proudly proclaims that he is the second-oldest tenant in the center.

“I was between Floyd’s Liquor store – which was just a little bitty place – and the old City Café [between 7th and 8th on the north side of Main Street],” he said. “What we had there was a lot of atmosphere, but I wouldn’t change that move for anything.”

It didn’t slow down the business either.

“When I started, I was really going for the businessman,” he said.

Who’s who in Shelby

And it has worked, with a veritable who’s-who of Shelby County leaders coming in for haircuts over the years.

Terhune noted Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty, state Senator Paul Hornback and Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger as a few clients over the years.

And Shelbyville Police Chief Danny Goodwin has getting his hair cut in Terhune’s shop for about 20 years.

“He came in with a bad haircut one day, and they asked if I could fix it,” Terhune said. “So I started getting it wet and brushing it up” – Added Goodwin: ‘It looked like I had mange.’ – “and then he told me I’d never get it down. Well I got it back down and fixed it.”

That, Goodwin said, is why he’s still going there two decades later.

“He fixed it so I’ve just kept coming back ever since,” he said.

But Terhune hasn’t been without his mistakes, either.

“I remember this one kid, it was when hair styles were a little longer,” he said. “I had the clippers in my hand, and we were talking. I noticed something on his collar, so I took these two fingers [holding up his index and middle fingers] and went to pick it off.

“Well, when you have fingers this long and clippers this long [longer than the fingers], then you know what happens next. Yep, I put a hole right in the middle of his hair.

“Well, he tells me he’s headed out of town for a job interview, he was just out of college, I think. And we tried to fix it, but there was nothing I could do.

“But over the years that kind of stuff happens, but not very often.”

And that’s why Terhune has been so popular: Mistakes rarely happen, and people like to come back.

“I’ve cut kids’ hair, watched them grow up, and now I cut their kid’s hair,” he said. “We see so much in here, hear so much that it’s almost like a living library.”

And Terhune could be a full set of local encyclopedia’s himself.

 

‘Can’t sit still’

Terhune since 1984 also has been a real-estate agent – “One of three things are going to happen when you sit in my chair,” he said. “I’m either going to list your house, sell your house or give you haircut.” – he has been involved with the Shelbyville Horse Show since it’s inception, involved with Relay for Life, hosting motorcycle poker rides, and, oh yeah, he is a licensed airline pilot, too.

“People come in, and we talk about what’s going on, what they’re doing,” he said. “Once I get to listening, I just ask, ‘How can I help?’”

How does he juggle it all?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just get things done. Still, at 68, people call me hyper. I just can’t sit still, I guess. But it’s getting easier [to].”

Take his work with Relay for Life. Terhune said he used to put out a bucket for customers to drop in money around the time of the event, but one day someone asked about it.

“So I just thought, ‘I guess I’ll keep it up all the time,’” he said. “I just dropped off about seven hundred dollars from the last few months.”

Although he noted that it’s getting easier to slow down as he gets older, he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

He recently remodeled his shop with the help of Country Squire, and he still opens at 7 each morning.

“Those guys working third shift, that’s five o’clock for them,” he said.

“People ask all the time when I’m going to retire, and I tell them ‘Well, I haven’t seen you for eight weeks. In that time either you’ve done something stupid, or I have, so we got a new conversation to have.

“There’s always something to do, and I enjoy doing it. I always try and have a good time, and I’ve never regretted a day of it.”