NewsBlack History Month

'Everybody loved Shep.' Inside the Highland Park barber shop nearing 80 years in business

Posted at 12:02 PM, Feb 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-10 15:19:33-05

(WXYZ) — As we continue our Black History Month coverage throughout the month of February, we're shining a light on the people and places that make metro Detroit special.

In Highland Park, there is a small business that has been a constant since the 1940s: Shep's Barber Shop.

“It’s been here for a lifetime, my uncle Richard Allen Shepherd. He came up here from Georgia and he went into the barbering business. Everybody loved Shep. We have people from all aspects of life come through. Everybody knew Shep,” said Dorothy Grigsby, owner of Shep’s Barber Shop.

There isn’t much that isn’t tried and true at Highland Park Shep’s Barber Shop.

“We are commonplace around here. We are staple around here, so they trust us,” added Grigsby.

In fact, even the banner that recognizes 75 years in business is now a few years old.

“We’ve been in business 79 years this year,” said Grigsby.

A barbershop in front, a beauty shop in back.

“When they get to talking about the Lions, they not only raw, they get loud, and it went when you get louder than the ladies then the door gotta close,” said Grigsby.

The shop is now owned by the late Shep’s niece, Dorothy Grigsby and her son Terrance.

“We’ve been through so much and we stayed, you know, and we are still standing,” said Grigsby.

“Good and bad, thick and thin,” said Terrance Harris, Co-owner of Shep’s.

The barbershop has been a pillar in the community of Highland Park.

For Leonard Pickett, who lives in Commerce Township, Shep's as much more than a haircut. It’s a family tradition.

“My grandfather came to this barbershop, and so did my dad and my brother, they came here so I’ve been coming here since the 80s,” said Leonard Pickett.

On this day, one of the barbers who may have cut all that hair, pays Shep's a visit. Master Barber Big Dave Collins, now in his 90s, worked here from 1957 to 2019.

“The people, the Shep family. They’re like my family. We just became good tight friends,” said Big Dave Collins.

Today they have agreed to mentor a young barber.

“We’re always willing to help,” said Grigsby.

It's keeping with her long-standing tradition of community involvement and treating everyone who walks through their doors with respect.

“Customer service that stays in style. I don’t care what hairdo they come to get, if you treat a person right, they’ll come back,” said Grigsby.

“It’s a place of comfort, it’s a place to able to be yourself and that’s why we love Shep’s Barber Shop,” said Highland Park Mayor Glenda McDonald.