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'He's incredible': Zeeland man celebrates 60 years as barber at local shop

Even after recently celebrating his 79th birthday, Frank Visser is still working about 30 hours a week.

ZEELAND, Mich. — A Zeeland man is celebrating an anniversary that not many achieve in their lifetime. 

Frank Visser has been a barber at the same shop for six decades, and has gained loyal customers and a loving community over all of the years.

Tucked just off West Main Avenue, Bob's Barber Shop is where Visser has become know as one of the longest, and hardest working people the community has ever seen. 

As of May 1, 2022, Visser will have worked Bob's Barber Shop for 60 years. 

"It doesn't seem like that long to me, but the grandkids think it's really something," he said. "They really wanted to recognize this but I didn't want to make it a big deal."

"It's just incredible," said Brandon Dykstra, one of Frank's grandsons, "and he's one of the most humble guys I've ever met."

Visser has been working at Bob's since he graduated barber school in 1962. When he started, he didn't have a car, so he'd hitchhike from Holland to Detroit to get to class. 

"I've really enjoyed it," Visser said. "I just like what I do."

"I've always said it's like going to the coffee shop every day," he added. "I cut guys' hair and I get to talk to them while I'm doing it." 

Frank's family, and especially his grandkids, wanted to make sure he was celebrated for all of his years of hard work as he reached this milestone anniversary. 

"It's really cool that even after all this time he still loves what he does," Dykstra said, "and I can only imagine how many generations he has helped over the years."

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And even after recently celebrating his 79th birthday, Frank is still working about 30 hours a week. 

"He started this all that time ago, and it's just kind of been his thing for now 60 years," said another one of Visser's grandsons, Zach Dykema. "I think it's really cool to see the perseverance of a small business like that."

Brandon and Zach both now live out-of-state, but said they loved growing up with their grandpa in the barber shop.

"Just to have that extra time with him and and have the chance to have really good bonding time was special," Brandon said. 

"He always knows what's going on in town, which is always fun to hear," Zach added. "And he's really just such a great community guy."

And although Frank didn't want any attention, his grandkids had something special up their sleeve. 

"I had no idea," said Frank, "and then yesterday I pull up to the shop and see the sign in the front yard."

Credit: Keely Lovern
Frank Visser poses outside of Bob's Barber Shop next to a sign made by his grandchildren to celebrate his 60 years at the shop.

His family had put out a large sign that read:

"CONGRATS 60 YRS A BARBER! JOIN US ON 4/30 AT 11AM TO CELEBRATE FRANK! LOVE, KIDS/GRANDKIDS."

"I guess if I stop and think about it, I could get emotional about the grandkids wanting to do this for me," Visser said. "And deep down I really appreciate everything they've done."

Frank said he appreciates his family, but also his customers, some of whom he's had all 60 years in the shop. 

"Thank you," he said, "thank you very much. It's been appreciated, and it's helped me make a living to support my family."

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