For Jim McDonald, the day starts early. He rises at 6 a.m. and heads to breakfast at the local McDonald's restaurant by 7. At a quarter till 8, he's making sure both chairs at White's Barber Shop on Broadway are clean and ready for the day's customers.

For Jim McDonald, the day starts early. He rises at 6 a.m. and heads to breakfast at the local McDonald's restaurant by 7. At a quarter till 8, he's making sure both chairs at White's Barber Shop on Broadway are clean and ready for the day's customers.

McDonald has been cutting hair at White's since 1961, and he has no plans to stop anytime soon.

"I'll be here as long as I'm physically able," said McDonald, 71. "I don't have a date in mind to quit working."

The shop's location has moved a couple times in the 50 years he's been cutting hair, but for the last 32 years, he's even had the same chair.

It was a Grove City barber who started McDonald on his career path.

"I went to get a haircut one night when I was in high school, and my dad was with me, and one of the local barbers asked my dad what I was going to do after I graduated."

McDonald's options, at the time, seemed limited.

"I could either get a job, or go into (military) service like everybody did back then. But (the barber's) nephew was going to barber college and he said it's a lifelong profession that you could do until you were an old man, so we looked into it a little."

After taking a short written test and earning his high school diploma, McDonald enrolled at a barber college on High Street in Columbus. He had to log 1,500 hours cutting hair, which took him about seven and a half months working eight hours a day, six days a week.

After earning his license, he took a job at a shop in New Rome, but stayed there just three months before taking a position at another Broadway barber shop for two and a half years. Since then, he's been at White's, watching Grove City change around him.

"It's spread out geographically. It's grown in population. It's a big town now," McDonald said. "It kind of amazes me."

What some of his clients might not know is that McDonald himself had a part in that change. He served on city council from 1972 through 1979 and was the Grove City service director from January 1980 through August 1988. It was a part-time job back then.

"Some of the things that were passed in legislation are why it is the way it is," McDonald said. "We had a lot of annexations back then and the town really grew a lot, especially the south and southeastern part of Grove City."

Now he's more involved in shaping the city's haircuts than its borders, and it's a job he still loves.

"I work in the barbershop four days a week," McDonald said. "It changes. You see different people each day, and you kind of get to know about them and members of their family."

"Family" could mean the children and maybe even the grandchildren of his first customers.

"We've cut several generations of people over the years," he said. "I've got people that I started cutting their hair in 1958, not too many of them anymore, but I've still got people that have been coming here since the 1950s."

When he's not taking an inch off the top, McDonald spends time with his wife, three grandchildren and eight grandchildren, all of whom live in Central Ohio.

He acknowledges that the barber who persuaded him to consider barber college was right.

"It's a good way to make a living. You're never going to get rich at it, but at least you can pay for a home."