Aiken, SC. (WJBF)- Snazzy's Barbershop is one of the oldest Black owned businesses in Aiken County. September will mark 40 years since the business began in 1977.
Windell Davis who is the owner of the barbershop says the business has an even longer history that started with his family.
"My brother Joe Davis was already cutting hair and he had been cutting in the barbershop for ten years. I used to come get my hair cut and I just liked the barbershop atmosphere and decided to become a barber." Davis said.
Windell who went to barber school In Columbia, learned how to cut hair and then started working at Snazzy's as a teen and learned even more from working alongside his brother.
When Davis' brother passed away he left him to take over the family business along with his sister who works in the salon next door.
"Nothings been like Snazzy's, I remember when we used to open up in the morning we may have like 40 people to walk in the door time we open up in the morning between 6:30 and 7 am.
William Dugar who also worked In the barbershop with Davis' brother Joe says back then it was the only barbershop in Aiken that had customers from all ethnicities not just African Americans .
"Joe would get you up about 6 o'clock in the morning he was an early bird. We didn't turn anyone down, we cut Caucasian hair, we cut Chinese, Vietnamese, we were international." Dougar said.
Aside from the nostalgic feel of black history, pride, and culture I asked Davis why so many people flocked to the barbershop and for him the answer was simple.
" Because we were good, why not? We had people from Wagner, Williston, Aiken, Ridge Spring, North Augusta all surrounding areas coming right here to Snazzy's." Davis added.
Not much has changed since then even one customer Augustus Washington says he's been coming to Snazzy's barbershop since he was a kid.
"Well the barbershop is like the church of the community and when you're 5 years old you start coming at least I started coming and its just like a ritual if you will, everybody comes to the barbershop you learn what's going on you talk about politics, you name it its in the barbershop." Washington said.
In addition to the community atmosphere, Snazzy's also served as the go to place for the latest trends and hairstyles for people of color.
"Back in 1977 I remember I was the first one to do a Jheri curl. They had just come out and I was the first person in Aiken to do one. Back then normally we wore afros so the Jherri curl is the thing you had long hair and it was curly but now it has changed anywhere from a to z now it goes. Long hair, no hair, medium hair, it goes. But back then it was normally everyone was trying to grow an afro." Davis said.
Davis could cut hair so well he had clients driving the distance just to sit In his chair. Jim Glover has been a customer of Snazzy's for 25 years and drives over an hour from Sparta Georgia just to get his hair cut.
Windell says for him being a barber is all about making a difference in his community and his customers agree.
"The barbershop experience is great, it's something that every community needs even those that may not have fathers in their home. The barbershop if you get to the right one is a place where you can almost start somewhat of a mentoring type situation because it gives in our case young black men an opportunity to see other men of diverse backgrounds come in and speak about their experiences." Washington said.
Snazzy's Barbershop is located at 1110 Barnwell Ave NE, Aiken, SC 29801. To schedule an appointment call (803) 649-3855.
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