It’s time to celebrate Raeford’s Barber Shop. Tomorrow this business will remember that day two decades ago, October 4, 1993, when they first opened the door for customers on South Main Street. Stop by for coffee and donuts in the morning; punch and cookies in the afternoon; smiles, hugs and haircuts ALL DAY!
Congratulations to all the barbers (LINK to AD 2012/08/07) and their shoeshine expert (LINK to DNN 2013/09/30) as they hang balloons and banners in honor of their 20th Anniversary. But before we talk about James, Ron, Ken, Joe, Tim, Thomas, Quentin and John, let’s learn about the building’s history, its current occupants, and its future. Like any good story, this one has a Beginning, a Middle and an End.
How many of our readers were here in 1993? How many remember the hearty laugh and ready smile on barber James Raeford’s face as he welcomed customers to his shop on October 4 of that year? How many residents know that the original barber pole outside the shop and one of the barber chairs came with barber Ken Norton who closed his Main Street shop in September 1993 and joined James Raeford the next month? And how about the granite sidewalk marker showing “Booe’s Meat Market 1908” at this location, 206 South Main Street?
Okay. Let’s start at the beginning. At one time Raeford’s Barber Shop was our town’s meat market. It made the Davidson College Magazine news in 1908 due to the market’s major innovation: cold storage! Owned by E. L. Booe, Norman Mayhew, Lewis Wilson and others, it was eventually taken oven by the City Garage business next door – before becoming part of Moore Reid’s City Garage which the Davidson College Archivist, Jan Blodgett, tells us was listed in town phone books as late as 1981. A shoe store, “First Step Sports,” rented the space for a time before the barber pole appeared in 1993.
James Raeford, a Davidson resident since 1957, opened his own shop in Cornelius before deciding to move his barber chairs to Davidson in October of 1993. Health difficulties caused him to turn the shop over to his son, Ron Raeford, almost a decade later. From the beginning, Ken Norton of Landis, has been part of the Raeford Team. Considered the Elder Statesman of the barbers, Ken is 85 ½ years young and if you get him talking about the old days, you will still be “Nortonized.” (Look for a t-shirt on the wall!)
Ken occupies the first chair as you enter the shop but only three days a week: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Friday and Saturday, customers find Joe McClain (a youngster at 83) behind that first chair waiting to “spin a yarn” about ole timers in Davidson. (We regret to report that Joe has been out for a few weeks with foot problems but we hope to catch him at tomorrow’s celebration.) Thomas Marsh, Quentin Feagins and Tim White are the “youngsters” rounding out the barbering talent on a daily basis with Ron. (The shop is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.) John Crawford just joined the group and can be found shining shoes on Fridays from 9:15am-2pm.
We applaud this remarkable group of men who can make anyone feel welcome with their friendly laughter and constant banter. Sit on the old church pew and talk Bible with Ken or venture to the back and see what Tim White is discussing as the “topic of the hour!”
But most importantly, stop by Raeford’s tomorrow, Friday, October 4, and congratulate all on a wonderful twenty years at 206 South Main Street! It is expected that James Raeford will make an appearance for a short while and perhaps even Joe McClain. You will want to say Hello.
The end? That part of the history of this marvelous business has yet to be written. But be sure to notice the new front door on Raeford’s Barber Shop. As Ron commented, “that old front door probably dates from 1908 – making it 105 years old!” We expect the new door may carry the business for the next 105 years. Stay tuned!
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