Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress A Chilliwack barber is paying it forward before he retires.

Retiring Chilliwack barber passes on the torch to refugee

Barber shop will carry on in Chilliwack with beautiful act of symmetry, compassion and continuity

Joe Majercsak of Chilliwack is ready to put away his barber scissors after 40 years.

He is passing on the torch in a beautiful act of symmetry, kindness and continuity.

Majercsak decided to gift the barber shop Hair Razors to a local Syrian refugee who arrived in Chilliwack a little more than a year ago.

The new barber, Hane Al Hashesh, 39, who he hand-picked, takes over on Thursday, June 15.

Majercsak chatted with The Progress last week, sharing what it means to be paying it all forward in this way.

“Hane has five kids. I thought to myself he really needs a hand up,” Majercsak said. Wednesday was his last day of cutting hair from the tiny space tucked away on Vedder Road.

He and his wife are getting ready to move to Alberta to be closer to the kids and grandkids.

He says he knows his shop will be in good hands.

“Immigrants and refugees work extra hard,” he said with a little glint in his eye.

Barbering is in his blood. He comes by it honestly.

Majercsak’s father was a barber for 56 years, working from a chair on the old military base in Chilliwack. His twin brother works as a barber, too.

“My father arrived in 1957 with only $5 in his pocket. He was a refugee from the Hungarian Revolution,” said Majercsak.

He made Chilliwack his home, cutting hair here for decades.

“He did very well. He came here with nothing and made something of himself,” he said with obvious pride.

There is no transaction, no sale for the shop.

Majercsak shows the final schedule of appointments, hand-written in pencil for his last week of barbering in Chilliwack.

“It’s been a good 40-year run. I’m going to miss it, and my customers.”

He’s gotten to know so many over the years.

“I can’t force them to keep coming, of course. But I can give them an option.”

One of his long-running regular clients is Keith Nixon.

“I’ve been coming to see Joe for 10 years,” he said. “I get the best haircut I’ve ever got, and he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s one of the those traditional barbers. When you’re in his chair, you’re his number one concern.”

Another regular in the chair is Nixon’s neighbour, Bill Ferguson.

“I have had good barbers and interesting barbers. But in terms of technique, there is no one more meticulous,” said Ferguson.

His neighbour recommended Majercsak about 12 years ago, and he’s been booking with Joe ever since.

“It’s a shame they closed the barber schools. Damned if I want to go to a hairdresser. Barbers are a dying breed.”

They’re both a little sad to see Joe go this week, but looking forward the future, with Hane at the helm.

Hane Al Hashesh, 39, tells The Progress he is honoured to be given the opportunity to take over.

“I don’t know why he trusts me, but he does.”

He and his wife, Sawsan, have settled in Chilliwack, with five children aged 2 to 12, with the help of some local church members. They’ve already started putting away savings for the kids’ educations.

With 13 years of barber experience in Syria and Jordan, he’s bringing sharp skills to Chilliwack.

In return he expressed his deep appreciation for that instinctive trust Majercsak has placed in him already.

“I will try to do my best and to keep the same routines with all the regular clients,” Alhashesh said.

“I’m so glad. This is my future.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Pre-registration required for the drive-in 2020 flu immunization clinics at Chilliwack Heritage Park on Nov. 3 and 4, and Nov. 9 and 10. (Chilliwack Division of Family Practice)
First ever drive-in flu shot clinics coming to Chilliwack next week

Roll up your sleeve, drive inside the barn at Heritage Park, and park for a few minutes to get shot

B.C. taxpayers could be on the hook for upwards of $27 million in total payouts for MLA pensions. (file)
Pensions are adding up for defeated, retiring MLAs: Taxpayers’ group

Martin and Throness would get $28,000 per year, lifetime pensions estimated ~$700K

Halloween enhanced image of a pumpkin patch to get you going. (Ryan Dyck Photography)
Halloween displays around Chilliwack are always a treat

Here is a list of addresses where some of the more creative Halloween displays can be viewed

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:56 a.m., Oct. 29.
TRAFFIC: Westbound Highway 1 crash between Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Left lane is blocked, traffic backed up to No. 3 Road

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

Most Read