FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Duane Hoyt said he remembers walking into his business and feeling stunned.
“It looked like a hurricane went off in the barbershop,” said Hoyt.
Hoyt, a veteran, said he served in the military for 20 years after joining at the age of 18.
“I carried my clippers everywhere and was giving everybody a free haircut… some days I was cutting 20 haircuts a day, and I developed a strong passion for it.” Hoyt added, “To this day, I love coming into work and cutting hair.”
Hoyt said he fell in love with the job and has been taking walk-in customers for years at his business, Duane’s Barber Shop, in Fayetteville.
Thursday night, Hoyt said he found his shop in a mess after a van crashed into the building.
“It was after 7 o’clock and I noticed there were a bunch of cars in front of my barber shop but I didn’t know why.”
After walking inside, the first thing that came to his mind was that someone had broke into his business. Hoyt quickly realized that wasn’t the case.
“I’m glad no one was in the shop because somebody probably would’ve been killed,” said Hoyt who had closed the business not long before everything happened.
He said drivers had followed the van to the parking lot after noticing the driver crashing into traffic signs and a nearby fire hydrant.
Surveillance video at Hoyt’s business showed the moment paramedics arrived to help the driver who was not injured.
For the past two days, Hoyt said been cleaning and picking up the business while the shop has remained closed for repairs.
Hoyt said the difficult part was not just witnessing the damage to his business, but also the damage to his collection of certificates, awards and special items from his 20 years of service that he had displayed at the front of the shop.
“All of that kind of got destroyed. A lot of my certificates were damaged, the frames that they were in… It’s hard to replace them and there’s stuff that can’t be replaced.”
Despite what happened, Hoyt said he feels relief knowing that his customers, many of who are also veterans and military members, stayed out of harm’s way.
He said some of his customers have already reached out to help including a general contractor. Hoyt hopes to re-open the business and welcome his customers by the end of next week.