Westover’s Pete’s Barber Shop is no longer home to its namesake now that Peter Xereas has retired.
Xereas, a Greek immigrant, had owned the barber shop at 5847 Washington Blvd since 1968 when he officially retired Feb. 28. Pete’s was named the best barber shop in Arlington for 2013 by the readers of Arlington Magazine.
Chris Hewitt, who had worked under Xereas for about five years, has taken over the lease and operation along with his wife, Elaine Prettyman, who also works at the shop.
“He decided to hang up the clippers,” Hewitt told ARLnow.com while attending to a customer’s hair. “He’s still in good health, and he said he wants to enjoy it.”
Hewitt was hired after a barber had left Pete’s for a different job. Hewitt said on his first day, Xereas let him know the shop would eventually be his.
“That first day, I was in the chair right next to him,” Hewitt said. “He said ‘I’m not gonna be working much longer, so when I retire, you can have the barber shop.’ I said ‘sounds good,’ put my time in and tried to learn the place.”
Hewitt said Xereas is planning on returning to his native Greece for the summer to visit his ill sister. Xereas had been planning to retire since his wife died last year, and the paperwork for transferring the lease and the business over to Hewitt was complete at the end of February.
When the customer in Hewitt’s chair, Ed, heard ARLnow.com ask about how customers had been reacting to Xereas’ retirement, Ed turned around and said, “Oh my goodness.”
“That’s how they have been reacting,” Hewitt said with a laugh. “Pete loves his customers. He said he’s going to miss everyone so much, so retiring was hard.”
As news of Xereas’ retirement spread to Pete’s customer base, several regulars sent emails to ARLnow.com lamenting the loss of their favorite barber.
“The men in the house are going to look much worse for this turn of events,” one reader wrote.
“He is an Arlington icon and will be missed,” said another.
Toward the end of the haircut, Hewitt turned his customer’s chair around and trimmed his eyebrows and his mustache.
“That’s something Pete used to do,” Ed said.