Two glasses of hot water before a light breakfast, plenty of good food
at noon and another light meal in the evening is a "good health
prescription" advocated by William H. (Bill) Coers, Shelbyville’s
business man who hasn’t needed the services of a physician for 63 years.
The Shelbyville Republican
Monday September 22, 1947
Page 4 column 3
WILLIAM H. COERS
By Ave Lewis
White-haired and jovial-faced Mr. Coers, who has seen a lot of "human
nature" stroll past his barber shop just off the Public Square on South
Harrison Street, says too, that he gets to bed by 10:00 o’clock each night and
doesn’t drink or smoke. Not that he’s radically opposed to the two habits
but he’s a firm believer in the theory that the stomach is the
"engine" of the body and he’s taking no chances that his particular
"engine" gets out of tune.
Mr. Coers got acquainted with a barber shop when just a little shaver-no pun
intended. He began at the age of 10 years by shining shoes in a shop operated by
Henry Friday in the corner of the Square where the Woolworth store is
now. It wasn’t long until he "graduated". He was too small to
reach the customers but Mr. Friday built a platform for him and he’d lather
the men’s faces in preparation for a shave. Once the barber was finished, back
he’d hop to wash faces and to give coat collars that final brush off.
After adding a few years and several feet in stature he went to work for
Switzer and Frank Yarling in a shop where the Goodman Store now stands.
says that Peanut Alec, whom a lot of local people may remember, had his
stand right next door on the corner. Many is the sack of peanuts he bought from
Alec and many is the handful "snitched" with the old colored man’s
His next move was made 53 years ago this October to his present location.
been in the building all that time with the exception of about two years-one
year in a small room on East Broadway and the other in a shop in the present Mary
Lou Store location. He and the late Tom Farr went into business
together and bought their equipment in Chicago. The wall fixtures, incidentally,
are the same ones used today, but with some of ornate scroll work and such
removed and given coats of white paint. However, in place of the five wall
lavoratories, there used to a huge basin in the center of the room. Some time
after the shop was opened Mr. Coers bought Mr. Farr’s interest and he’s been
on his own since then. And he’s always opened the shop in the mornings and has
never been "late to work." For some time he and others owned the
building and other property in the block but not long ago sold to John Sigler
and he now leases the shop.
The place used to open for business at 6:00 a.m. and he and his workers
stayed until around 8:00 p.m. Some Saturday nights saw them still on the job
long after midnight. But now 8:00 a.m. is the opening hour and 6:00 p.m. is the
closing time. On Saturday nights he remains open until 9:00 o’clock.
While most people take advantage of the Wednesday afternoon closing hours,
Mr. Coers goes to the Major Hospital to shave and cut hair of the patients.
also works at the hospital on Sunday mornings when needed. While he’s heard
every sort of rumor and all sorts of talk during his years of experience with
the public he says there isn’t the "gossiping" in barber shops that’s
supposed to go on in women’s beauty salons. He believes people are getting
away from "airing their troubles."
Mr. Coers is 74 years old.
He was born in Shelbyville and is married to the
former Edna Harrell. They gave their first son her family name, "Harrell,"
and he now lives in Portland and has been affiliated wit the International
Harvester Company for 15 years. Their daughter, Vivian Rowe, is employed
in the local welfare office and Tom, the youngest, is an Indianapolis
resident and recently went into partnership in a drug store in the capital city.
Mr. Coers’ favorite recreation is fishing but he says the "big
ones" always get away.
Contributed by Barb Huff