Durham barber keeps faith while rebuilding shop
Posted January 19, 2012
Updated January 20, 2012
Durham, N.C. — A year has passed since fire tore through Sam Jenkins’ barbershop on Angier Avenue in Durham.
And while it’s been a trying time, continued perseverance – and some lessons he’s learned from his favorite basketball team – have helped Jenkins push forward toward his goal of reopening this April.
“I’m just caught up trying to survive,” Jenkins said.
That’s been a big enough job since last January, when an accidental electrical fire started in Triangle Trophy and spread to Samuel and Sons Barber Shop, destroying everything Jenkins had worked to build since moving to the space in 2004.
Since then, Jenkins has been in the process of rebuilding. Insurance companies will cover the damage, but Jenkins says he’s been surprised to learn about all the red tape that comes with rebuilding.
“You got to submit plans, have to get engineering, got to get this approved by this person and that person,” he said.
Despite the frustrations that come with each delay or setback, Jenkins said he’ll rebuild so that he can reestablish his place in the community. It’s a way for him to give back.
“If you follow the old way of barbering, the community is the most important thing,” he said.
Since buying the building on Angier Avenue eight years ago, Jenkins has gotten credit for reaching out to both city leaders and neighbors to take back the streets from drugs, gangs and prostitutes in east Durham.
Even without a permanent space, Jenkins, who once lived on the streets himself, continues to give back. He gives free haircuts or clothes to people who need them.
Personally, Jenkins says he’s relied on Duke University basketball for that extra bit of motivation to keep moving forward.
“Duke is my team, and when I get frustrated, I think about my team,” he said. “It’s like, 'What would my team do?' They would keep fighting all the way until the end, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
If things continue to go as planned, Jenkins hopes to reopen in April. He said he’ll have a big cookout for the community when the grand re-opening does arrive.
“It would feel, I guess like a kid on Christmas,” Jenkins said.