by C.B. Wismar

When Jake Hunker hung out his shingle for Jake’s Barber Shop at 87 Railroad Street in Great Barrington, it was, in many ways, a leap of faith. The shop where he had served customers for several years had closed abruptly. Jake had to make a career decision. “I could have rented a chair at another shop, “ confides Jake, “but it was time. I was going to focus on the future and open my own shop. Big risk. Big dreams.”

As Jake’s Barber Shop commemorates the start of its fifth year in the community, Jake Hunker is marking the moment by not only thanking his robust client list for giving shape and substance to that dream, but by being supportive of Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP), a local organization that encourages focus and commitment for others.

Railroad Street Youth Project is a Great Barrington not-for-profit organization that encourages community teenagers to meet, to learn, to talk and to focus on the future. “For the week of Tuesday, March 30 through Saturday, April 3, we’ll donate $5 from each haircut to RSYP,” confirms Hunker. “I am proud to support their mission … to support the youth of our community and help them ‘explore their full potential and become equipped to meet the challenging transition to adulthood.’”

Since opening his doors, Jake Hunker has received consistently high marks for the experience in his shop. “Respectful,” “great sense of humor,” “his concentration is excellent” are samples of written kudos for Jake’s work. And, as the best review is a positive response, one of his regular customers posted the thought “I always get compliments on my haircut!”

Railroad Street Youth Project — RSYP is a dynamic non-profit organization helping young people bring their ideas and inspirations to fruition and discover their place in the world. Their services and programs have evolved to meet the changing needs of local young people. The Youth Operational Board continues to fund youth-inspired projects, run ongoing mentoring and apprenticeship programs, provide sexual health programming through the local schools, offer job training and career counseling, and staff an active drop-in center that provides counseling, mediation, referrals and advocacy services for young people in need.

Appointments for Railroad Street Youth Project-benefitting haircuts from master barber Jake Hunker can be made on-line through Hunker allows that upwards of 80% of his bookings now come in on line. The phone is also an available way of getting a spot in Jake’s barber chair. 413-717-4238 is the shop number.