Female barber Sandra Myers cuts hair with a flare for Southern gospel music
by By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG Banner Staff Writer
Sep 02, 2013 | 2399 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PP Sandra Myers
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Banner photo, CHRISTY ARMSTRONG SANDRA MYERS, co-owner of a Cleveland barber shop and member of a Southern gospel singing group with family and friends in Benton, stands in her shop ready to greet each messy-haired customer in need of a trim.
Sandra Myers was the first-ever female barber in the very same shop that she would later co-own.

The barber who sings as part of a Southern gospel music group — not a barbershop quartet — when she is not cutting hair never let herself get intimidated by being the only woman in her workplace.

In fact, she said she once put pink highlights in a man’s hair for accusing her of ruining the “sacred” nature of what had been an all-male barber shop.

“I’m easy going until you make me mad,” Myers said with a laugh.

The Benton native worked in various sewing factories before she began cutting hair 22 years ago. It was when she first started cutting the hair of her husband, who goes by Buck, and her sons and nephews that she found something she enjoyed enough to switch careers.

After attending what was then called the Tri-City Barber College in Knoxville, she returned to Bradley County to cut hair.

She said she learned that she enjoyed cutting men’s hair more than women’s, so becoming a barber rather than a hairdresser seemed like a natural fit.

“I also didn’t want to do colors and perms,” she said.

Her first job as a barber was at the Cutting Edge Barber Shop between Elliot’s Boots and Checkers off 25th Street in Cleveland. About six weeks ago, she became co-owner with her colleague, Andy Yeater.

What she did not expect when she first started work in a shop of an all-male staff and clientele though was that some clients had enjoyed an all-male atmosphere.

Myers said one regular client would always tease her and complain about women taking jobs that had once been held by men, saying that even barber shops weren’t sacred.

One Christmas, someone gave her a “color comb” filled with temporary hot pink hair dye as a gag gift. She said she took the dye with her to work and proceeded to make the man’s hair pink the next time he gave her a hard time.

The entire shop got a laugh out of that, she said, and he stopped making those comments in future visits.

Now, she estimates she has around 300 regular clientele, and the shop’s other co-owner describes Myers as adding to what is “just a peaceful shop.” 

“She’s a wonderful Christian lady,” Yeater said. “We get along well.” 

When she is not at work, Myers and her husband travel and sing as part of a Southern gospel singing group called Crystal River.

The group performs a mixture of original songs and hymns along with covers of songs by other music artists. The group travels to sing, and has gone as far as places like Cherokee, N.C., and Miami with its music.

In her spare time, Myers enjoys shopping, golfing and fishing, with her favorite spot being along the Hiawassee River near Highway 58. She said she also enjoys spending time with her two grown sons and their families, including eight grandchildren.

At the end of the day, Myers said her favorite part of being a barber and a singer was getting to hear all the stories of the people she has met over the years.

“I just really enjoy it, and I used to be really shy,” she said. “Between singing and barbering, you have to like the public.”