It has been a long and difficult year for everyone, but Dax Bolston, the man his loyal customers know as “the hair doctor” wants everyone to know: “Dax is back.”
Bolston formerly owned the Hair Hospital on South Wayne Street, but the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be great, forcing him to close his doors. He admits the situation got him down, and after losing some close friends to the virus, he struggled to find his way. He credits the support of his loyal customers for urging him to get back to the business he knows so well.
Dax’s Barber Salon opened a couple of months ago at 104 W. Hancock St., in the location formerly occupied by SweeTreats. Bolston may have a new location and a new business name, but he continues to operate as the only hair doctor in town.
“There’s a lot of barbers, but there’s only one hair doctor,” said Bolston.
Bolston said he has taken advantage of the pandemic to reset his own priorities. While he used to work long days, sometimes cutting hair for 12 hours or more on any given day, he has come to realize the importance of balancing his life both for himself and his customers.
“Coronavirus, it brought a change to my facility and actually the whole world,” said Bolston. “On the local level, with me, it helped me to set my standardized hours and stick firm to them.”
To that end, Dax’s Barber Salon operates under firmly established hours, opening from 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Walk-ins are welcome, and customers can request to schedule appointments before 10 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, but never after 6 p.m.
Bolston has been a master barber for more than 20 years. He got his start when he was a teen watching his uncle cut hair on the front porch. He helped his uncle collect money from customers and watched his uncle’s techniques closely. This led to Bolston’s desire for formal training.
“I studied under the late Robert Freeman Sr. right here off of Wayne Street,” said Bolston. “I got my credited hours as an apprentice under him.”
Bolston said he has paid it forward by helping train many other young barbers in the Milledgeville community over the years, people the hair doctor lovingly refers to as his “pediatricians.”
“Inside of every barbershop in town, I would say there’s at least one that came from me,” said Bolston.
Basic haircuts at Dax’s are $15 for children and $20 for anyone older than 12. Specialty cuts such as mohawks and flat tops cost $25, and color or spray-ins are $30.
Bolston also owns Top Off Cuts in Sandersville. While he spends most of his time at Dax’s, he likes to check in on his other store at least once a week.
“We have two nice, young gentlemen that work there that do an excellent job,” said Bolston.
For Bolston, the realities of working in his field during a global pandemic have shed a light on the need for barbers and stylists to make cleanliness a top priority in their business operations every day.
“The safety of clients in this day and time is very important,” said Bolston. “No matter how busy you get, the customers are very important.”
When clients enter Dax’s, if they do not already have a face mask, they are given one. Bolston wears gloves and changes them after every client. He also has a strict regimen of sanitizing all of his utensils between customers. Because some utensils are not practical to sanitize, he has made adjustments to how he does business. Bolston now uses a damp towel to wipe off customers rather than the traditional duster tool. He also avoids using hairbrushes and advises customers that if they would like him to use a brush, they should bring their own from home along with them to the shop.
When asked what his favorite part of his job is, Bolston responded, “Watching it all come together, each haircut.”
Bolston is extremely grateful for the loyal customers that have stayed with him through the years. He also points out that being in a new location, he looks forward to the increased customer traffic of being in such a visible downtown storefront.
“I always wanted to be on a front street. I’m glad to be here,” said Bolston.
He says he loves the activity of downtown and enjoys being among the mix of local shops and eateries.
“I love the movement of the people,” said Bolston.
And while 2020 presented him with many challenges, Bolston is glad to be back at work and has a hopeful vision for life post-COVID.
“I’m looking forward to in 2021, 2022, when the world starts to heal a little better, to meet and greet new people.”
Dax’s Barber Salon
104 W. Hancock St., Milledgeville
Hours: Wednesday 8 a.m. to noon, Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.