A Frankfort man decided to change his life for the better, leaving drugs and the streets in his past, and opening new doors in his career as a barber. 

Chris Blythe, owner of Bly’s Barbershop on Grandview Drive, said he was born in Frankfort in 1979 and grew up on 313 St. John Court in downtown where Dolly Graham Park is now located. He attended Second Street and Frankfort High. 

Blythe said he had a fortunate childhood in South Frankfort, adding he was very active and interested in sports. 

“I’ve always been a creative person. I’ve always had a creative mind, but you couldn’t have told me when I was young that I would end up becoming a barber,” he said. 

Blythe said his grandmother, Betty Blythe, helped raise him before she died when he was 18. 

“I was the kid in the neighborhood that if something came out new, whatever the new thing was, I was fortunate enough to have those things,” he said. 

Blythe said after the death of his grandmother, his life began to change and he turned to crime. When he moved to Louisville with his mother and younger brother, he was on probation. 

“I went to community college and worked at UPS, but I was partying a lot and breaking every rule of my probation,” he said. 

Blythe’s mother ended up calling his probation officer, telling them she had had enough and worked to admit him to a treatment center for his addiction. 

“I went and learned about the issues I had. I used drugs that caused me a lot of pain, and I didn’t know how to really deal with it. I began to learn a lot about myself.”

Blythe said for the first time in his life, he became comfortable in his own skin, something he said he never felt before.

“On the outside, it appeared I had it all together, but on the inside, I was empty. I got clean and started being productive.”

Blythe was sober for roughly 11 years before his addiction caught back up with him, this time sending him to prison. 

He was sent to Henryville Correctional Facility in Indiana, leaving a wife and two children alone back home while he served a 10-year sentence for drug trafficking. 

“When I got into this trouble, I said, 'Man I got to do something different. I need to leave the streets alone and try to do something positive with my life.' I was thinking I needed to change,” he said.

While incarcerated, Blythe's mother had a friend who was well off who came to the prison to visit him. The man asked him what he wanted to do with his life. 

Blythe said he would often “shape up” other inmates’ hair, so he told the man the only thing he would be interested in was being a barber.

As a child, Blythe said he was in and out of barbershops, where he developed a love for the conversations and stories shared within its four walls.

“When I got out of prison, I was in barber school the next week. It changed my life. I never thought I would be a barber, but I’m a firm believer in never giving up,” he said. “Sometimes our dreams may seem too big or that we can’t accomplish our goals we set out to achieve, but ain’t no dream or goal too big for God. I do believe all the hard times I went through got me where I am today.”

When he first graduated from barber school and passed the test for his license, he expected clientele to come easily. Instead, he spent the first three or four years of his career building a relationship with other barbers and potential clients. 

“It was rough. There were days I was sitting at the barbershop all day long, and I could’ve paid someone to let me cut their hair. At times, it was really discouraging,” he said. 

Blythe “shop hopped” trying to find a place in the barber world, and he met Tommy Hayes, owner of Main Street Barbershop in Shelbyville, who helped him grow as a barber. He said Hayes played a vital role in helping him learn the business. 

Blythe's personality has set him apart from other barbers over the years, adding his shop is like his pulpit and a place where he can be himself. 

“I never walked in a barbershop and left feeling the same way as when I came in. If I felt good, I left feeling better. I don’t believe barbers get enough credit for how influential they are,” he said. “I try to be a big brother to people in my community. I’ve met a lot of amazing people from all walks of life. They help me more than they know.”

If barbers had not been a special part of Blythe’s childhood, pushing him toward the decision to flip his life for the better, he said he would most likely either still be in prison or dead. 

“My oldest, Jordan, remembers when I got locked up. He really saw what good and bad decisions get you,” he said. 

Blythe is looking to expand his business even further in the new year, hiring more barbers in his shop. He added his ultimate goal is to one day open his own barber school. 

He graduated from the Kentucky College of Barbering. 

Bly’s Barbershop is located at 23 Grandview Drive and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 502-319-9351 to schedule an appointment. 

Bly’s Barbershop can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.

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